President’s Office has allocated a budget of Ks 33.4 billion (US$34 million) to host Asean Summit after Myanmar took over Asean Chairmanship, a senior official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on November 24, 2013.
Aung Htoo, deputy directorgeneral of Asean Affairs department under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said he cannot be sure whether the allocated budget will be enough to cover the expenses as Myanmar will be hosting more than 100 meetings next year. ”We have received Ks 33.4 billion as a budget for the Asean Summit. This amount may not be enough but it can also be a surplus,” said Aung Htoo.
Child soldiers have long been a feature of the various ethnic conflicts in Myanmar.
Recruited young and forced to fight, nobody knows exactly how many child soldiers there are.
And despite an agreement last year, the UN says Myanmar’s military is still signing on underage boys.
If an underage recruit or his family can contact an international aid group, they can petition the government for a discharge, but the December 1 deadline for removing all child soldiers from Myanmar’s military has come and gone without other improvements. more…
YANGON – Ye Htut, the last member of the “Thirty Comrades,” the group that spearheaded Myanmar’s struggle against British colonial rule, has died. He was 91.
Ye Htut died from health problems related to old age at a hospital in the main city of Yangon on Wednesday, family members said.
The Thirty Comrades were led by Gen. Aung San, father of democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. During World War II, the men went to Japan for training to fight British colonizers in what was then known as Burma. Aung San later negotiated independence from Britain, but was assassinated before that occurred in 1948.
Ye Htut, who served in the Myanmar army until independence, went underground soon afterward, joining the armed struggle of the banned Burma Communist Party.
He laid down his weapons in 1963 to join the ruling party of thendictator Gen. Ne Win, but was purged several years later in an innerparty struggle, according to his eldest son, Kyaw Kyaw.
Ye Htut was involved in the 1988 democracy movement. Tin Oo, a former chief of staff and veteran of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party, expressed his condolences, saying he had great respect for those who helped the country fight for independence. “I am very sad to hear about the death of the last surviving member of the Thirty Comrades,” he said.
Ye Htut “served as a patron of the Patriotic Old Comrades league — a group formed by retired army leaders during the peak of the 1988 uprising. He shared his experience and had given us advice during the initial days,” Tin Oo said. more…
Asian countries will continue to play a major role in placing investment in Myanmar. Japan, for example, has maintained a close relationship with the Myanmar government with Tokyo undertaking several government-to government initiatives that will provide soft loans and other forms of support to improve basic infrastructure.
Minister of Finance U Win Shein, during the ongoing parliament session, announced that Myanmar will use approximately $610-million, a new Japanese loan, for implementing four projects, namely upgrading of Yangon- Mandalay railroad, water supply in Yangon, infrastructural development in Thilawa Port and development of irrigation facilities in the western Bago region.
Doing business in Myanmar is far from easy, but Thai companies should consider it a blessing to be located so close to the last major untapped market in Asia, rich in natural resources, with vast potential for tourism and a large, young populace.
It is believed that Thai companies might already be falling behind, slowed down by concerns over the many hurdles such as high prices for land, inadequate banking and financing services, severe lack of infrastructure, and unclear regulation. Also, many Thai companies have been struggling to find the right local partners to form business alliances
According to a recent forecast by the Centre for International Trade Studies of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, when the Asean Economic Community takes effect, FDI into Myanmar will more than triple by 2015.
It is therefore necessary for Thai companies that want to operate on a pan- Asean basis, to not neglect this land of opportunities.
Myanmar will be the focus of attention in the international oil and gas industry in 2014 as a batch of major offshore exploration licenses are awarded and more blocks are expected to be put up for foreign bidding.
Myanmar’s oil ministry, known by its acronym MOGE, recently announced that 30 companies had bid in its first ever offshore licensing ground.
Most of the western majors were among 30 bidders which included ExxonMobil, Shell, ConocoPhillips, Total, BG, Repsol, ENI and Chevron.
American company General Electric (GE) Oil and Gas has stepped in Myanmar shortly after the United States announced lift of sanctions on the country in 2012. GE will cooperate with Myanmar private company SMART Technology Service in the service sector of oil and gas on mutually beneficial basis – the SMART Company will supply equipment and services to drilling and surface solution of the GE.
The much-awaited auction of 30 offshore oil and gas sites is the latest test of Myanmar’s economic reforms and its emerging energy policy.
The Foreign Ministry of Bangladesh has prepared a draft memorandum of understanding on security dialogue which has been sent to Myanmar.
The proposal includes regular meetings between Bangladesh and Myanmar under foreign office consultation, joint trade commission and defense cooperation. Non-traditional security issues like climate change, environment disaster, natural calamities, epidemic, illegal movement of people and drugs are also key priorities.
Bangladesh would like to follow the US arrangement with Myanmar, on methods for maintaining social order and national security as well as non-traditional security challenges.
The Kaladan multi – purpose transportation project, a $214 million contract, jointly implemented by Myanmar and India, is expected to be operational by 2015.
According to Essar company, contractors of the three phase project, 70 percent of phase one- construction of Sittway Deep Seaport and Paletwa Jetty, dredging the Kaladan waterway and construction of six vessels, has been completed.
Phase two and three which involve the construction of a 109 km-long road to link Paletwa with border region and the construction of a highway between India’s Mizoram state and Myanmar’s Chin state, respectively are soon to follow. Upon total completion of the waterway and highway project, India is to hand this over to Myanmar to carry out the maintenance work.
This project would help support better transport and trade between both the regional countries.
Bordering India, China, Thailand and Bangladesh, with a population of 55 million people who are hungry for just about everything, Myanmar is attracting the kind of investor interest not seen since China opened up two decades ago.
Japanese businesses are getting the kind of encouragement from their government that British companies can only dream of; pledges of around £1bn in soft loans, summit meetings, and an agreement to build a modern industrial park on a 2,400-hectare site outside Yangon, which will offer Japanese manufacturers the kind of infrastructure – reliable power, water and port facilities – unavailable elsewhere.
Japan is offering help to modernise Myanmar’s dilapidated railways, to upgrade its woefully inadequate electricity grid, to transform its urban planning. Tokyo’s ambitions in Myanmar seem limitless.
In a sign of continued trade interest from Japan, firm Mori Hamada & Matsumoto is in the process of opening an office in Yangon. The opening of the new office will make Mori Hamada the second Japanese firm to have a base in Myanmar, the first being Nishimura &Asahibecame.
The Government of India has worked to extend air, land and sea routes to strengthen trade links with Myanmar and establish a gas pipeline. While the involvement of India’s private sector has been low and growing at a slow pace, both governments are proceeding to enhance cooperation in agriculture, telecommunications, information technology, steel, oil, natural gas, hydrocarbons and food processing.
Border trade between India and Myanmar is likely to be accelerated after detailed deliberations that customs officials would be posted at the land customs station at Nampong and other places to immediately take up trade activities.
It was also agreed that Ministry of External Affairs would initiate action for the development of road infrastructure in the bordering areas and that the Government of Arunachal Pradesh and other state Governments would send pending project proposals for industrial development in the area to Ministry of Commerce in Myanmar at the earliest.
The Myanmar Government, in turn, was requested to initiate pending action to set up a corresponding land customs station within their border near Nampong and other places. These decisions were taken at a meeting between Union Minister of State (MoS) for Commerce and Industry E M Sudarshana Natchiappan, MoS for Minority Affairs Ninong Ering, Arunachal Pradesh Agriculture Minister Setong Sena and officers from the Commerce, Home Affairs and External Affairs ministries at New Delhi.