RI firms gearing up to expand into Myanmar

19 March, 2012 | Source: The Jakarta Post

The government has prepared several state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to help pioneer the expansion of Indonesia’s private sector into Myanmar.

State-Owned Enterprises Minister Dahlan Iskan said the government would set up an entity called SOE Incorporated, which would establish an office in Myanmar to help explore business opportunities for the Indonesian private sector.

“Indonesia should be able to take up any opportunity in Myanmar. Their current economy is like Indonesia in the 1970s,” said Dahlan on the sidelines of a cooperation ceremony between PT Samator Gas Industri and PT Krakatau Engineering on Tuesday.

Dahlan said SOE Incorporated would temporarily include Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI), construction company PT Wijaya Karya and gas and oil company PT Pertamina.

“We have sent a number of BNI, Wijaya Karya and Pertamina executives to observe conditions in Myanmar for six months,” he said.

“The executives are tasked with collecting information on how to do business in Myanmar so that a strategy can be devised to penetrate the market.”

The executives are slated to present their reports in the third quarter of this year about the opportunities and obstacles of doing business in Myanmar.

“We are going to ensure our business in Myanmar will be safe and beneficial for both countries,” Dahlan said.

Dahlan believed the expansion was a form of solidarity because Myanmar’s democracy and human rights records were improving, and that the country was also a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN).

The ASEAN members have approved Myanmar’s bid for the ASEAN chair in 2014 for demonstrating improvements in human rights.

Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy, has less business exposure and presence in Myanmar compared to other ASEAN countries, such as Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia.

Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, Temasek Holdings, is believed to have invested about US$3 billion in Myanmar.

Myanmar, whose prime export is the ruby, had a population of 60.2 million as of 2010, and is one of the poorest nations in Southeast Asia due to decades of stagnation, mismanagement and isolation by its military dictatorship.

SOE deputy minister for infrastructure and logistics Sumaryanto Widayatin said Indonesia would reap many benefits from Myanmar because the country needed oil, gas, and infrastructure.

Pertamina and Waskita Karya have proven their performance in contributing to development in Indonesia, and could set an example for Myanmar. BNI, according to Sumaryanto, will help finance projects initiated by Pertamina and Waskita Karya.

“We have not calculated the planned investment. But I can assure you that it will be very big,”
he said. “We should have entered the country five years ago. But again, it’s better late than never,” he said.

 

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