On April 27, the Government of Myanmar issued its Economic Relief Plan to Mitigate the Economic Impact from the COVID-19 Pandemic. The plan aims to improve the economic environment and ease the strain on businesses and households.
The Economic Relief Plan outlines seven broad goals (for example, “Ease the Impact on the Private Sector”) supported by 76 action plans covering a range of extraordinary fiscal measures, as well as measures to support businesses, households, and the self-employed. The key measures are summarized below.
Key Relief Measures for Businesses
- Lower bank deposit and lending interest rates
- Postponement of corporate income tax and commercial tax payments, due in March and June 2020, to September 2020
- Exemption of customs duties, commercial tax, and specific goods tax imposed on the importation and distribution of medical supplies and products related to the prevention, control, and treatment of COVID-19
- Three- to six-month exemption from lease fees for impacted firms that have leased state-owned factories for manufacturing, and that have made regular payments in the past three months
- Permission for commercial banks to restructure and reschedule existing loans extended to SME businesses for longer repayment periods (up to a maximum of three years)
- Exemption from import licensing and FDA requirements for products that are FDA-approved in another country
- Establishment of a COVID-19 fund to provide one-year loans, at an annual interest rate of 1%, to businesses in the “cut-make-pack” and hotel and tourism industries that have suffered from COVID-19
Key Relief Measures for Households and the Self-Employed
- Promotion of low-cost funding for microfinance institutions
- Cash or lending support for smallholder farmers who have lost sales revenue or remittance income, to support input purchases in time for monsoon planting
- Exemption from electricity tariffs for all households (excluding embassies and international organizations), up to 150 units per month
- Encouragement of private financial institutions to give more flexibility related to interest and mortgage payments for households
- Provision of financial aid to most affected households through mobile financial services (amount to be determined)
Among other things, the Economic Relief Plan also provides measures to promote innovative products and platforms; strengthen the healthcare system; and increase the COVID-19 fund and contingency funds to the extent necessary.