PwC Sri Lanka to hold Doing Business in Myanmar Forum on 26 September

Friday, 21 September 2018 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Sri Lanka announced today that it was co-organising the Doing Business in Myanmar Forum 2018 - which will be held on 26 September - together with its network firms PwC Singapore and PwC Myanmar.  

The event will highlight the macro and sector overviews, tax environment, latest legal developments and its opportunities in Myanmar, followed by a panel discussion.

The forum’s objective is to help Sri Lankan corporates broaden their business reach through cross-border trade and investment, and thereby establish a competitive presence in regional economies. 

Myanmar covers an area of 676,578 km2 and has a population of 52.8 million comprising an array of different ethnic groups. Burmese is the official language and English is used widely. The new capital is Naypyitaw, but the former capital Yangon (Rangoon) remains the biggest city, commercial centre and arrival point for most visitors. 

Myanmar has a GDP per capita of $ 1,408 (2016), with a GDP growth rate of 5.9% (2017) and a youth literacy rate of 84.8%. The sector that contributes most to GDP is the Services and Trade sector followed by the industrial sector and the agricultural sector. Modern travel conveniences, mobile phone coverage and internet access are growing, along with a strong drive on infrastructure expansion.

After the opening up of Myanmar markets, foreign direct investment has been increasing, with large inflows of capital coming into the country. Foreign Direct Investment in Myanmar in 2015, 2016 and 2017 has been $ 9.5 billion, $ 6.6 billion and $ 5.7 billion respectively. As a result the World Bank expects Myanmar to be one of the world’s fastest growing economies. 

Myanmar is gaining an advantage from its strategic location between the two biggest emerging markets in the world: India and China. The successful establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) is a high priority target for the Government of Myanmar, as SEZs will attract foreign investment, promote the export of goods and services and create much-needed employment opportunities. 

Myanmar is ranked 171 among 190 economies in the Ease of Doing Business ranking, according to the latest World Bank annual ratings. 

PwC Sri Lanka operates from its principal office in Colombo and also its overseas operations in Male. With over 400 employees and 19 partners and directors in both locations, PwC acts as advisors to private sector enterprises and government on Assurance, Finance Advisory, Tax Advisory mandates and Technology Advisory to solve the complex problems businesses face in today’s changing marketplace. 

PwC assists brand defining global and local clients and governments to design, manage and execute lasting change, and deal with the unexpected. Its strategic intent is to create value for clients and to bring a competitive advantage to their activities.

There will be a number of senior officials addressing the forum from PwC’s regional offices who are experts on Myanmar. 

An introduction to doing business in Myanmar will be given by Ong Chao Choon, the Managing Partner for PwC Myanmar. He set up the firm in Yangon when PwC returned to Myanmar in 2012, the first Big 4 international professional services firm to do so. Today it has grown to over 130-strong, the largest amongst the Big 4 in Myanmar and the market leader in advisory and tax services. 

Chao Choon is concurrently the Deputy Chairman and Advisory Leader for PwC Singapore. He has been with PwC for over 30 years and worked in Singapore and Sydney. Chao Choon is one of the most experienced Deals partners in Asia Pacific, with over 20 years of M&A advisory experience in addition to over a decade of auditing and business advisory experience prior to that. 

Outside of PwC, Chao Choon sits on the boards of the National Environment Agency (where he chairs the Audit Committee, and is a member of the Sustainable Singapore board committee) and The Art House Ltd. (where he is a member of the Finance Committee). 

He was previously the Chairman of the Nanyang Business School Alumni Advisory Board and the Deputy Chairman and Audit Committee Chairman of the Republic Polytechnic. He was awarded the Public Service Medal in 2017.

Myanmar’s infrastructure outlook, challenges and opportunities will be covered by Brandon Lye. Lye is a Director in PwC Singapore’s Capital Projects & Infrastructure practice. He has over 20 years of extensive working experience in engineering, construction, real estate investment and infrastructure developments across Asia Pacific. Brandon leads infrastructure and real estate transactions in Myanmar. 

He has conducted feasibility studies and due diligences on real estate, infrastructure and utilities BOT and BOO projects including commercial and mixed use development, desalination and water treatment facilities, power plants, toll roads and coal mining projects in Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, India and Mongolia. Lye has also led several PPP tenders in Singapore. 

Prior to joining PwC, Lye was with Singapore’s largest engineering consultancy and leading EPC contractors where he gained strong technical experience in dealing with complex multi-disciplinary projects. Lye has successfully led several infrastructure projects including feasibility studies and market research of renewables and energy-related projects in Myanmar. 

Myanmar’s tax environment and how to manage the tax impact on the businesses in Myanmar will be presented by Paul Cornelius - Tax Partner, PwC Myanmar, Tax Global Restructuring Partner, PwC Singapore. 

Cornelius has in excess of 30 years of corporate and international tax experience. He started his tax career with Price Waterhouse in London before moving to Melbourne in the late 1980s. He left the firm in 1993 to work in the oil industry and re-joined PwC Singapore as a Tax Partner in 2003. 

Cornelius has provided tax advisory and planning services to multinational corporations in the UK, Australia and Singapore. He was previously in charge of the Taxation Department at ExxonMobil Australia Pty Ltd. and prior to that at BP Australia Pty Ltd. His work included financial and tax reviews of major projects in the Asia Pacific region.  

Cornelius heads the Energy, Mining and Utilities business sector for PwC Singapore across all lines of service and is the leader for the Energy and Resources sector for the tax line of service in Asia Pacific. He has worked on numerous projects involving Singapore as a hub for business expansion into Asia.  

Cornelius currently leads the tax practice of PwC Myanmar and has advised many multinational companies on tax structuring for investment in Myanmar. He is also responsible for Myanmar tax compliance for many companies covering both direct and indirect taxes. His clients are in many sectors of the Myanmar economy including oil and gas, telecommunications and financial services.

Cornelius spends at least half his time in Myanmar. He has coordinated local and regional projects involving tax and other lines of services including business advisory and risk and control solutions and provided tax advice to local and international clients in Myanmar. 

Cornelius has led many discussions with the Myanmar authorities, including the Myanmar Investment Commission, Ministry of Electricity and Energy and the Internal Revenue Department, helping clients with incentive applications, advance ruling applications and disputes. He has also been involved in discussions with the Myanmar authorities to lobby for certain initiatives and to provide input on changes to tax law and practice.

Janeshwar Pachigolla is a Managing Director with over 12 years’ experience working across South East Asia, Dubai and India. In the past five years, he has been extensively working with large private equities and corporate houses supporting their acquisitions primarily in Myanmar.

He has been assisting various clients with market entry projects, market studies and due diligence in the Myanmar region. His primary focus is in the consumer sector (both manufacturing and trading – of FMCG, F&B and other products), healthcare, education, oil and gas downstream, TMT, etc.

In his current stint in Myanmar, Pachigolla has been involved in more than 50 M&A transactions in the country.

Prior to Myanmar, Pachigolla was working in PwC Singapore, primarily performing financial due diligence for private equities and corporates across sectors (excluding financial services and infrastructure). He also has three and a half years of audit experience performing audits of large listed companies across Singapore, Dubai and India.

The latest legal developments in investing in Myanmar will be covered by Minn Naing Oo. Minn is the Managing Director of Allen & Gledhill (Myanmar) and a Partner of Allen & Gledhill. He has extensive experience advising on banking and finance, mergers and acquisitions, infrastructure projects, corporate and commercial, arbitration and competition. He has acted for multinational corporations, multilateral agencies, financial institutions, private equity funds and Myanmar conglomerates.

Minn is a former legal adviser to the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry. He is also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators, and has been appointed to dispute panels for disputes between World Trade Organisation (WTO) member states.

He was previously the Chief Executive Officer of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre and Director at the Ministry of Trade and Industry Singapore. Minn has been recommended for his expertise in Myanmar by leading publications. 

The panel discussion and Question and Answer session will be moderated by Daily FT Editor-in-Chief Nisthar Cassim. 

The Doing Business in Myanmar forum of PricewaterhouseCoopers will be held on Wednesday, 26 September at the Colombo Hilton.