From Markets in a few hands to many for Prosperity

Why should Myanmar bother free and fair competition?
Feature16.10.2019@Biak Hlei Sung
FNF Myanmar

From Markets in a few hands to many for Prosperity

Why do business opportunities are in the hand of a few while the rest many are struggling to survive their businesses? In a developing country like in Myanmar, markets are dominated and monopolized by a few people or businesses. Among many factors leading to this, lack of competitive environment is one of the major causes.

In order to boost the country economy, nurture a culture of fair competition and minimize the influence of anti-competitive business behavior, Myanmar has finally founded its Competition Commission in October 2018, as a follow up of the Competition law enacted in 24 February 2015 and the Competition Rules issued in 9 October 2017. This has been a great move and praised by the domestic and international community for the government’s effort in accelerating the country’s economy and attracting investment.

Why should Myanmar bother free and fair competition?

There are a number of benefits competition can bring into the economy and its key players. Among many, competition;

  • Boosts innovation,
  • Offers quality products and services in the lowest price,
  • Increases productivity and growth,
  • Builds both domestic and foreign investors’ confidence,
  • Creates more job opportunities, thereof reduce poverty,
  • Encourages more exports
  • Creates space to growth for MSMEs, and 
  • Reduce or minimize corruption. 

What does that mean for businesses?

 It becomes a must for businesses and investors outside or inside of Myanmar to learn about the Competition Law and Rules, and to make sure their staffs are well-aware of it, so that they will not commit anti-competitive conducts.

What about Civil Society?

Without a strong presence of civil society organizations that watch the conduct of businesses, the regulation and actions of government, advocate anti-competitive issues, provide information to consumers, and educate key players, the culture of fair competition will not be strongly embedded.

Myanmar Competition Commission

The law, rules and regulations are alone not sufficient in promoting fair competition. The Commission’s capacity and commitment in implementation and enforcement with the political will and support of relevant government institutions will guide fairness in competition the future business environment will hold.

Tons of challenges are awaiting in promotion and protection of fair competition. In the early days of adopting  policies, laws and set-up of the commission, the support of international organizations is essential in building up its capacity, so that Myanmar would enjoy prosperity and development.

Reference:

  1. Session 1.3 of “WHY IS COMPETITION IMPORTANT FOR GROWTH AND POVERY REDUCTION?” by Nick Godfrey.
  2. Assessing the Economic Impact of Competition by Karen Ellis & Rohit Singh, July 2010, Overseas Development Institute.

Writer, Biak Hlei Sung is Programme Manager of FNFMyanmar under Economic Freedom Pillar .