USAID Mission Director Aler Grubbs Remarks at the virtual launch of Myanmar’s Beneficial Ownership Disclosure Website

Remarks as Prepared for USAID Mission Director Aler Grubbs

at the virtual launch of Myanmar’s Beneficial Ownership Disclosure Website

October 14, 2020

Honorable Deputy Minister U Maung Maung Win, Director General U Thant Zin Lwin,  National Coordinator U Aye Lwin, representatives of the Government of Myanmar, representatives of civil society, representatives of the private sector, distinguished guests.  I am glad to join for this important launch of Myanmar’s newly upgraded Beneficial Ownership Disclosure Website.  Thank you for your continued effort and partnership to improve transparency and accountability in Myanmar’s extractives industry.

On behalf of the United States Embassy to Myanmar and the United States Agency for International Development, I congratulate the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration, the Myanmar Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative, and the participants of the Beneficial Ownership Task Force for your combined efforts and leadership to achieve this milestone and make today’s launch event possible.

The United States recognizes the major steps that the Myanmar Government, civil society, and the private sector have taken to bring Myanmar into compliance with the standards of the global Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative. These steps include the Beneficial Ownership Presidential Notification 104/2019 issued last December and now the launch of a new website — both are important milestones towards achieving full compliance. As a Supporting Country, the United States government sees these standards as critically important to improve transparency in the industry, increase competitiveness, and mitigate corruption. These steps help improve the extractives value chain, promote investment, and support reforms in the extractives industry.  The benefits of these improvements are widespread and impact people across your country of Myanmar.

Through USAID’s Transparency and Inclusive Growth Activity, we have helped the Myanmar Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative and the Beneficial Ownership Taskforce with technical assistance, IT services, and training. While the United States government works across many sectors to promote inclusive economic growth in Myanmar, the extractives industry is foundational to the Myanmar economy. We look forward to continuing to engage with our partners to support this Myanmar-led agenda to ensure the industry continues to move towards better transparency, accountability, safety, and environmental sustainability.  All of which benefit the people of Myanmar.

The United States is proud to be a part of today’s event as a supporter of this important process. With electronic filing—even more important now as Myanmar adjusts to the effects of COVID-19—we anticipate broad participation by the private and publicly-listed companies, as well as the government-owned enterprises within the extractives sector.  Beneficial ownership filing is a requirement, and it is also a  part of these companies’ commitment to good corporate governance and transparency to the people in Myanmar.  This data will be available to all those who want information about the sector—a core tenet of the Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative. The availability of usable and easily accessible data through the top-of-the-line website can help build public trust in and among government and corporations involved in the extractives sector. For reputable foreign investors, the website will be invaluable in identifying other reputable local partners to set up and run responsible businesses.

Most importantly, the data that will now be available online through this website helps to uncover any instances of malfeasance and corruption in the system, corruption that can lead to significant damage through safety violations, or undermine broad multi-stakeholder efforts to promote peace in conflict-affect parts of the country, and be detrimental to the wellbeing of the people here.

We commend the work of everyone here today, in particular the Directorate of Investment and Companies Administration, the Myanmar Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative, and the Beneficial Ownership Task Force in taking these important steps to increase transparency, competition, and investment for the benefit of the people of Myanmar.