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EventNook offers businesses free online booking platform for a year

Although the spread of COVID-19 has slowed recently in Myanmar nobody knows when the pandemic will end, so people have to adjust to the new normal to ensure their businesses can survive. Some businesses have closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19- for example, gyms, beauty salons and clinics. To improve this situation, EventNook of Singapore will offer all businesses in Myanmar free use of its UserRoll booking platform for one year.

UserRoll was launched in July to help customers host virtual events and accept bookings online via the UserRoll Appoiintment and UserRoll Event platforms. The founder and CEO of EventNook said that UserRoll online booking will help services, shops, and businesses in Myanmar safely reopen and adjust to the ‘new normal’ during this unexpected crisis until vaccines and treatment become widely available.

UserRoll Appointment will enable businesses in Myanmar such as beauty salons, clinics, libraries and government offices to reopen and better manage the number of customers through an appointment system and online booking via Facebook and Chat. UserRoll doesn’t require downloading an app. It can be accessed via browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Microsoft Edge on any laptop, PC, smartphone or tablet.

Looking to the future: Beyond 2021, EvenNook hopes that businesses can get back to normal and services such as online booking and crowd control will no longer be required. Digital solutions such as online appointment booking, contact tracing, contactless payment are essential tools in developed countries that have helped services and businesses continue during the pandemic. People may not used to them yet in Myanmar, but in the new normal, everyone has to adapt to these new practices to ensure safety and business continuity.

The new normal: However, since Asia will be the center of growth in the next few decades, EventNook thinks the regional market and urbanisation will grow. Moreover, since COVID-19 has accelerated digitalisation, online registration and booking will become standard procedure in Myanmar sooner rather than later. So, EventNook plans to expand their team and event technology services in Myanmar in the future.

Source: Myanmar Times

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CMP raw materials import plunges to $476 mln over past 3 months

IMPORTS of raw materials by CMP (cut-make-pack) businesses has touched a low of US$476.3 million as of 1 January in the current financial year 2020-2021 since October 2020, which fell from $581.34 million registered in the previous FY2019-2020, according to the Ministry of Commerce. The figures reflected a decrease of $105 million, the Commerce Ministry’s data indicated. In October of FY2020-2021, the country exported $203.95 million worth garments to foreign countries. The figure plunged from $384 million registered in October of the 2019-2020FY. At present, over 100 CMP garment factories temporarily shut down on the reason for the lack of raw materials and slump in demand due to the coronavirus negative impacts, leaving thousands of workers unemployed. Sixty-four factories have been permanently closed down during the pandemic, compensating about 25,000 workers.

The data does not include those factories that have not resolved
worker payments, the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, and Population stated. The coronavirus impacts badly batter the labour-intensive enterprises, indicated the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration. The MGMA and EuroCham Myanmar held virtual meetings on 7 January 2021, along with representatives from EU brands. They highlighted efforts to increase job creations in the garment factories, keeping garment factory order from European buyers, improving skilled
workers’ capacity, and upgrading the Myanmar Garment Human
Resource Development Centre (MGHRDC) and strengthening
relationships between employers and workers. Additionally, MGMA also proposed leading a working group including government officials, European Brands’ representatives and the related institutions, to transform CMP into the free-on-board (FoB) system.

Myanmar mainly exports the garments to Japan and European countries, especially Germany. The US has also purchased the garments made in Myanmar. Some western countries cancelled orders amid the pandemic. Therefore, we need to focus on market diversification. Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association (MGMA) requested the ministries to deal with changing and cancelling orders to keep the business alive. Myanmar’s garment factories have been complying with the COVID-19 health guidelines, and the buyers recognized this. If the factories can prevent from spreading the virus, it will not affect the production, MGMA General Secretary shared her opinion at the virtual conference held on 11 December 2020.

Under the EU Myan Ku Fund, they have now distributed K5.2 billion in support across 67,810 payments to unemployed garment factory workers as of 12 October. Workers in all the states and regions of Myanmar
have received this financial assistance, said Team Leader for EU Myan Ku
Fund. Next, foreign direct investments flow into many types of businesses, including garment enterprises. The foreign investors are not bothered by the disputes between employers and employees and some CMP businesses’ closure during the mean times, the Myanmar Investment Commission stated. Of the investment proposals, the manufacturing and labour-intensive businesses are prioritized by the commission. Myanmar mainly exports CMP garments to markets in Japan and Europe, along with the Republic of Korea, China, and the US.

The garment sector is among the prioritized sectors driving up exports. The CMP garment industry has emerged as a promising one, with preferential trade from Western countries. Myanmar’s garment factories operate under the CMP system, and those engaged in this industry are striving to transform CMP into the free-on-board (FoB) system. As the factories cannot enter into a contract for FoB, Own Design Manufacturing (ODM) and Own Business Manufacturing (OBM), the income is limited, according to the MGMA. According to the Ministry of Commerce data, exports of garments manufactured under the cut-make-pack (CMP) system were valued US$4.798 billion in the last financial year 2019-2020. Although the sector is facing hardships because of the cancellation of order from the European countries and suspension of Western countries’ trade amid the pandemic, export values rose in the previous FY (1 October 2019-30 September 2020).

The export value of CMP garments was only $850 million in the 2015-2016FY, but it has tripled over the past two FYs. In the 2016-2017FY, about $2 billion was earned from exports of CMP garments. The figure increased to an estimated $2.5 billion in the 2017-2018FY and $2.2 billion in the 2018 mini-budget period (from April to September). It tremendously grew to $4.6 billion in the 2018-2019FY, according to the Commerce Ministry. Since an outbreak like COVID-19 might happen in the future, it is necessary to prepare for a sufficient raw materials supply. The public and private sectors will cooperate in setting up the supply chain on our sources, including weaving, knitting, dyeing, and sewing factories. The MGMA has more than 500 members, and garment factories in Myanmar, employing more than 400,000 workers. Investors prefer to invest in countries with inexpensive labour, such as Myanmar.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Myanmar, China sign MoU on feasibility study for Mandalay-Kyaukpyu railway project

Myanmar and China signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to conduct a feasibility study for Mandalay-Kyaukpyu railway project on 10 January. Union Minister for Transport and Communication said that the
Muse-Mandalay-Kyaukpyu section is an essential project for the Belt and Road Initiative of Chinese President Mr Xi Jinping and the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor.

The bilateral relation between the two countries will become stronger through cooperation. He added that the MoU for a feasibility study for Mandalay-Kyaukpyu railway was signed between Myanmar Railways and China Railway Eryuan Engineering Group Co.,Ltd (CREEC) and it also should conduct the study in details for the natural environment and social impacts. Then, Chinese Ambassador to Myanmar talked about the first visit of President Mr Xi Jinping to Myanmar in January 2020.

The railway section located in Yunnan of China will be completed in 2023 and trains will run between Myanmar and China. By connecting railways between China and Myanmar by building railroads inside Myanmar, it will connect Myanmar with big Eurasia market of 1.4 billion population and it will help Myanmar economy grow as well as assist the better life of Myanmar people. The feasibility study report of 2-year term MoU must submit within 18 months including the study for impacts of environment, mental, social, and cultural heritage.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar