Myanmar is reportedly considering a move to allow foreign banks to operate in the country this year, with a proposal to have fewer branches in specific areas and provide a limited number of products.

A senior government official involved in the plans was quoted by Reuters as saying that, "The president last week formed a committee to choose five to 10 out of about 40 foreign banks who have opened representative offices in our country."

"We plan to select suitable ones soonest and give them a limited licence so that they can start operations before the end of this year," the official told the publication.

The committee, which is headed by the central bank governor Kyaw Kyaw Maung, includes senior government officials such as the deputy finance minister, deputy attorney general, and central bank deputy governors.

Some regional banks were afraid that arrival of global banks will adversely affect their growth prospects in the country, as they are equipped with vast capital, better technology and have deep expertise in modern banking.

Lawmakers, who are connected with these bankers, have tried to obstruct the government’s plan to allow select foreign banks to operate in the country, according to Reuters.

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"Since the president has set up this committee now, allowing foreign banks to operate is just a question of which. It’s no longer a question of if. I’m sure it will happen before the end of this year," the source added.

Assuring local private banks to safeguard their business in the country, the officer said that the foreign banks would only be granted limited licences.