Economic situation worsens in Myanmar, the crisis will deepen if the military rule retracts from the election promise

Pankaj Prasad
Protest in Mayanmar
Protest in Mayanmar

In a report released on January 30, the World Bank said that in the last two years, Myanmar's economy has shrunk by 18 percent.

On the occasion of the completion of two years of the military coup in Myanmar, the world's attention has been drawn from many quarters to the deteriorating economic and political conditions in the country. In a report released on January 30, the World Bank said that in the last two years, Myanmar's economy has shrunk by 18 percent. This is directly attributed to the mismanagement of the military regime and the sanctions imposed by Western countries on Myanmar after the coup. 

On February 1, 2021, Myanmar's army seized power by detaining the elected public representatives who were going to form a new government. Since then, the people of the country have had to face exorbitant price rise and scarcity of essential commodities amidst the worsening economic conditions. Meanwhile, many multinational companies have moved out of Myanmar after winding up their business. According to a recent report by research organization Torino World Affairs Institute, between February 2021 and December 2022, 28 multinational companies have either completely closed or postponed their business in the country. 

Sam Barron, a researcher at the Research Center for Sustainable Peace and Policy at the University of Tokyo, wrote in an analysis that the military regime has no plans to fill the space left by large companies after they left. This analysis, published on the website Asia Time, said – The military ruler is trying to instill confidence in businessmen by announcing that elections will be held this year. They want to convey the message that the situation in the country is normal, but in the meantime, on the occasion of completion of two years of the coup, the military rule announced to extend the period of emergency in the country for six months. While it has declared the program for holding elections in August. According to analysts, the extension of the emergency period has deepened doubts about the elections. Due to this, the military government's attempt to restore the confidence of businessmen has also been sabotaged. 

A recent survey among Japanese companies doing business overseas revealed that about 80 percent of companies were interested in doing business in Myanmar. These companies are understood to be waiting for normalcy to return there but the latest developments have dashed such hopes. Japan has been among the countries with the highest investment in Myanmar. About 400 Japanese companies were doing business in Myanmar before the coup. India also has deep business and other relations with Myanmar. An analysis published in Asia Times pointed out that India had welcomed the announcement of holding elections in Myanmar some time ago. But now if the military rulers do not fulfill their promise, then all parties expecting elections will be disappointed. This will worsen the internal situation of Myanmar.