The future of garment industry in Myanmar in 2018

The government of Myanmar introduced some political reforms from 2011 promising to be successful in the future. Their purposes are to develop a sustainable economics associated with stable communities and life improvement for Myanmar people. In the other hand, the government must carry out economic development in association with social policies in their political reforms. Otherwise, the nation with lack of capitals, high skills and knowledge like Myanmar, only a limited choices for job opportunities. Hence, garment industry with requirement of low skills, high income seems to be a perfect choice for workers here, especially woman.

Textile workers sewing on production line at a garment factory in Hlinethaya Industrial Zone in Yangon
Photo: Phoe Khwa

High income for workers

Developing countries such as Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar always have to face challenges due to low salary. But with the development of garment industry, developed countries build their factories helping lots of people stable and good salary jobs. The statistics shows that in 2018, labor wages in garment industry will increase 33% compared to 2017.

1.5 million-job expected by 2020

As learned by the research of Phu Huynh about employment and wages in Myanmar’s nascent garment sector, the garment-textile-footwear industry in Myanmar employs 738,000 workers, of whom slightly more than half are based in garment production. The size of this garment-textile-footwear workforce is roughly comparable to that in Cambodia, but is merely a fraction of that in Indonesia and Vietnam. Geographically, three-quarters of garment-textile-footwear employment is heavily concentrated in just three states: Yangon (302,100), Mandalay (152,500) and Sagaing (87,100)

The garment industry can bring many employment chances for workers who have low knowledge and education to be trained occupational skills needed in just short period of time. Especially, for the girls from various parts of the nation who have to work really hard with unreasonable wages in dangerous situations instead of the higher education, the garment production tends to be great importance for social security for those girls.

Forecasting on investment in the industry

The new policy to rise labor charges and land rental rates is expected to decrease the investment of enterprises to garment industry. But, Vietnam – the third export garment quantity of Asia also has plans to increase their labor charges and the low safety of garment factories in Bangladesh, investors are considering in Myanmar with lower wages and land rental rates. It’s time for the government to strengthen their policies, safety and security for workers, also consider the designation of reasonable wages to attract foreign investment.

Source: Khin Maung Oo