Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Myanmar suffer from arduous tax and monetary policies and lack of access to capital and intellectual property protection. SME owners feel the government needs to address these issues as there are no business category for entrepreneurship and opportunities in emerging fields, such as digital applications and software.
Taxes are imposed on SMEs even before operations start and even if losses are incurred in the first few years of business. As SMEs form the foundation of the country’s economic development, the government needs to support them with a strong Intellectual property rights base, a report in an English-language daily in Myanmar quoted U Khin Maung Cho of the ministry of industry as saying.
Citing the lack of access to loans and high interest rates as the biggest barriers to SME business in the country, Yangon chief minister U Phyo Min Thein said banks just wait for loan applications instead of approaching SMEs. In Myanmar, SMEs and banks lack a close working relationship.
The Central Bank of Myanmar needs to reduce interest rates, according to Zayar Nyunt, CEO of the SME Development Bank. U Aye Han, member of the board of directors of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said products from Myanmar are at a disadvantage regardless of their quality because the country has no organisation for formulating standards.
Meanwhile, vice president U Myint Swe is leading an effort by the private sector development committee to chalk out an SME development strategy.