Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises, or MSMEs, make up 99 per cent of Myanmar’s businesses. Therefore, only when MSMEs are developed can the country achieve economic progress.
To oversee MSME development, an MSME development policy was adopted in December, 2015, a law was enacted in April the same year, and a by-law was enacted in October, 2016.
In accordance with the policy, national MSME products trade fairs and contests have been held in different states and regions since February, 2018 with a view to support the market expansion of MSMEs; promote import substitution across various sectors; encourage linkages between the manufacturing and trade sectors; improve MSME competitiveness, technology, and economic know-how, with the cooperation of local and international businesses; increase import substitution products; and promote innovative products and MSMEs.
There are more than 67,000 registered SMEs in Myanmar along with many unregistered businesses, according to the SME Development Department. SMEs constitute 90 per cent of Myanmar’s businesses. Most of them are facing barriers and challenges in terms of capital, technology, and market access.
To ensure the MSMEs overcome their financial challenges, the Union Government has been providing loans to businesses in need of capital by collaborating with domestic private banks.
Awareness talks have been held through Credit Guarantee Insurance (CGI) to help businesses get credit from banks for investment. The Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) and private banks such as CB, KBZ Bank, and SMIDB have provided CGI loans of K4,105.9 million to 406 businesses and JICA two-step loans of K8,348.5 million to 47 businesses.
Till January, 2019, the Ministry had inspected 51,171 registered workshops at industrial establishments, in line with the private industrial enterprise law.
All SMEs engaged in manufacturing, labor-based projects, retail and wholesale, service and other businesses are eligible for the JICA SME two-step loans.
The Myanmar Economic Bank has been providing two-step loans, funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, since September, 2018 to help develop Myanmar’s small and medium enterprises.
The relevant ministries, government organizations, and the public sector have been urged to step up collaboration to help MSMEs obtain loans and technology so they can produce innovative and quality products, expand their reach in local and foreign markets, improve technology and economic knowledge, cooperate with local and foreign organizations related to the sector, produce more import substitution products, consistently update technology, strategies, news and information, and develop human resources.