Rangoon (Mizzima) – The problem of sending money from Malaysia to Burma will get a little easier in the future.
Irrawaddy Bank chairman Zaw Zaw said the bank has started preliminary preparations for remittance banking services for people sending money to Burma from Malaysia.
For now, the bank is providing the service only for Burmese nationals working in Malaysia. In the future, after the end of economic sanctions and the bank’s obtaining a swift code, a remittance service could be provided for international banks, he said.
However, for now, he said, there are still significant hurdles for Burmese nationals to enter the international banking business and current sanctions prevent offering the service.
“The current economic sanctions imposed on Burma are one of the hurdles to our cash flow and circulation,” he said.
The Irrawaddy Bank opened in Naypyitaw on August 21, 2010. It opened 17 branches across the country in the first year of operation.
The bank celebrated its first anniversary at the Inya Lake Hotel in Rangoon on Tuesday evening. Top government officials, businessmen and foreign guests totaled about 400 people.
Among the guests were Aung Ko Win of Kanbawza Bank, Chit Khaing of Myanmar Shay Saung Bank, Tay Za of AGD Bank and Nay Aung of United Myanmar Bank and Rangoon Mayor U Hla Myint.
Irrawaddy Bank provides fund transfer services by linking with eight affiliated banks and 120 branches. It has links with about 35,000 business enterprises.
A major overhaul of the Burmese banking and finance system is in the preliminary stages. A team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is cooperating with government authorities as they revamp the country’s currency exchange policy.
The IMF team consulted with officials, banks and representatives from public and private companies in Naypyitaw and Rangoon from October 19 to November 1, 2010. The goal is to stabilize and unify the currency exchange rate system with international monetary standards and practices.
The IMF team is expected to visit Burma again for a follow-up mission in early 2012, said the IMF.