Source: Thai Biz Myanmar
Hundreds of thousands of migrant workers are returning home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused factories to suspend their operations. This can worsen the unemployment rate in the country where there is strangely no official unemployment rate. The government of Myanmar is trying to find a way to create jobs for returning migrant workers.
“In order to sustain employment we have to get over this mindset that being able to bring a factory into the country is the end objective. No, that’s just a start,” Mr. Surge Pun @ U Theim Wai, Executive Chairman of Yoma Strategic, said during a webinar organized by UMFCCI.
In the past, the country, he pointed out, was more concerned about swapping the flies that fly into when the doors are open than actually allowing the wind to blow in. “That has always been a problem,” he said.
To sustain employment, the stakeholders need to be able to bring in the whole ecosystem from upstream to midstream to downstream in production.
“You must be able to think one, two, three million employment not a few hundred thousand. To do that, you need to have a strategy that brings the whole ecosystem. That requires more than just a few slogans. More than just having water and electricity. More than just saying we have cheap labor. It requires a policy directive that will direct govern the whole movement to something that is sustainable,” he pointed out and exemplify the success stories seen in neighboring countries.
The World Bank, in its Myanmar Economic Monitor, revised its forecast for the country in the 2019-2020 fiscal year to be as low as 0.5 percent as all sectors are hit, with adverse effects of varying intensity projected across all sectors. Nearly six months ago, on January 15 this year, it forecasted the economy to grow by 6.4 percent in the 2019-20 fiscal year, up from 6.3 percent last fiscal year.
The proportion of the population living in poverty declined by almost 50 percent between 2005 and 2017, according to the Poverty Report, issued by the World Bank, UNDP, and the Central Statistical Organization.