News / Asia

Burma’s Roads Bear Signs of Economic Reform

Signs of Economic Reform on Burma’s Roadsi
|| 0:00:00
...  
🔇
X
VOA News
November 08, 2012 5:55 PM
Burma's roads were once a strange showcase for extremely expensive, decades-old cars kept running through home-grown ingenuity. But in recent years economic reforms have drastically changed the car market.
VOA News
Burma's roads were once a strange showcase for extremely expensive, decades-old cars kept running through home-grown ingenuity. But in recent years economic reforms have drastically changed the car market.
 
Taxi driver U Win Naing just paid a little more than $6,000 for this Japanese import. It might seem like a lot for a 1988 Nissan Sunny, but he feels like he got a great deal.
 
“We’re in a period when the car prices are dropping so I’m happy," he said. "The government is now doing a good job. As the country progresses, these older cars should not be on the road any longer."
 
Just six years ago, a 20-year-old Japanese car would have cost around $100,000. Junkyard-ready vehicles were kept on the roads because the government restricted imports, making those already in the country extremely valuable.
 
Cars and other luxury items were once available only to corrupt military officials, said Ko Soe Moe, one of about 2,000 freelance car brokers in Rangoon who may soon be out of a job.
 
“The combined cost of the permission ticket and the value of the new car was around $400,000, so only the highest class of the country could afford," Moe said. Generals and their inner circles only could do it.There is no such thing as a car lot like these or a car dealer broker like me in other countries. Business like this is only going on where there are no real showrooms.”

A potential customer breastfeeds her baby a saloon for newly imported cars in Rangoon.A potential customer breastfeeds her baby a saloon for newly imported cars in Rangoon.
x
A potential customer breastfeeds her baby a saloon for newly imported cars in Rangoon.
A potential customer breastfeeds her baby a saloon for newly imported cars in Rangoon.
Deregulating the market has instead opened up business opportunities for people like Nyi Nyi, who makes a living doing custom upgrades of Burma’s new car enthusiasts.
 
“Yea, there’s a group of people who are very much into cars, a lot of car enthusiasts, and that community is growing as days go by," he said. “Before it was totally different. Burma is only one of the very few countries when you buy a car the price can appreciate, the value will appreciate and you actually invest in it, you can get a profit from buying a car and selling it back.
 
Rangoon-based economist Khin Maung Nyo said with car prices falling because of looser import controls, Burmese are no longer buying them as long-term investments.

“The car market is part of the property market, or part of the asset market, now speculation moved from car market to real estate," said Nyo.
 
In gridlocked Rangoon, it's a sign that reform is on the road in Burma.

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs