In 1964, the Ne Win government nationalized all wholesale businesses and the large private and cooperative shops; small retail shops, hotels, restaurants, and village cooperatives were exempted. The People's Stores Corp., established in 1964, was initially responsible for the importation and distribution of essential foreign goods, the distribution of consumer goods produced in Myanmar, and the sale of domestic products in foreign markets. The corporation was administered by a council headed by the Ministry of Supplies and Cooperatives. In 1970, the "people's stores," most of which had been unsuccessful, were replaced by consumer cooperatives. Beginning in 1966, the government set all commodity prices and controlled distribution systems; in September 1987, the Burmese people were told that they could buy, sell, and store rice and other grains free of government restrictions. As of 1997, these liberalization measures have been most effective in the agricultural sector, although overall, the military still controls the lion's share of the economy. As of 1999, about 65% of the work force was employed in agriculture.
Although significant marketing is done at Bago (Pegu), Mandalay, Mawlamyine (Moulmein), Pathein (Bassein), Henzada, Akyab (Sittwe), and Dawei (Tavoy), Yangon (Rangoon) is Myanmar's most important business center. Myanmar's domestic economy is paralleled by a huge black market economy that co-exists with the official one; the underground economy may be at least as large as the legal economy. A factor in the decline of Myanmar's domestic production is dependence on border trade, which undermines Myanmar's manufacturing sector with cheap foreign consumer goods. Credit cards are not widely accepted.
Normal business hours are 9:30 AM to 1 PM and 1:30 to 4 PM , Monday–Friday, and 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM on Saturday; small private shops keep longer hours than government offices and enterprises. Banks are usually open 10 AM to 2 PM , Monday– Friday, and 10 AM to noon on Saturday.