VDB-Loi’s comments on the draft Law on Registration of Deeds and the Law Amending the Farm Land Law have recently been submitted to the Amyotha Hluttaw (Lower House). As the situation currently stands, the Amyotha Hluttaw will submit VDB-Loi’s comments to the Pyithu Hluttaw (Upper House) with their additional commentary after discussions. Upon a recent meeting between a representative of VDB-Loi and the Director of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, U Nyein Aung, VDB-Loi has prepared a Burmese version of our suggestions on the laws to avoid any potential discrepancy between the English version and the government translation. As the our commentary has now reached the Pyithu Hluttaw for review, the Director also suggested directly submitting the commentary to the Pyithu Hluttaw Bill Committee, which represents one further step in having our suggestions realized in each respective law.In regards to the Farm Land Law, our suggestions focus on making the oftentimes cumbersome process of changing the use rights on farm land for construction of telecoms infrastructure more efficient for all parties involved. As the law currently stands, farmland requires a lengthy process of rezoning which hinders the development of telecommunication infrastructure. As hundreds and even thousands of sites are required for the deployment of towers, under the current law, each individual site requires submission of documentation at the Township Department level of the respective region. The comments made by VDB-Loi suggest implementation of a project-wide conversion process which would both streamline the procedures for telecoms operators and hasten the advancement of national interests in expanding access to telecommunications networks.
Our comments on the draft Law on Registration of Deeds contain numerous improvements, most notably, the creation of a Central Deeds Registration Office, which would make the process of changing land use rights much easier by establishing a body in Yangon that deals with zoning for sites on a nationwide basis. Other suggestions include the ability to register leases after the expiry of the 120 day registration period and an amnesty period to avoid fines accrued by companies for late lease agreements on tower sites.
Both aforementioned sets of suggestions would represent a win-win for tower companies and the government alike. As land rights are perhaps one of the most encumbering regulatory hurdles to overcome in Myanmar when constructing telecoms infrastructure, should our comments be taken into account in amending the law, both the government’s goals set out in the Telecommunications Masterplan and the interests of the telecoms sector in Myanmar will be jointly realized.