August 19, 2016

A Development Agenda

New budget to focus on development, U Htin Kyaw

President U Htin Kyaw delivers an address at the meeting of Financial Commission in Nay Pyi Taw. Photo: MNA
President U Htin Kyaw delivers an address at the meeting of Financial Commission in Nay Pyi Taw. Photo: MNA

Myanmar’s Financial Commission held its first meeting in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday, with President U Htin Kyaw addressing the crowd and stressing the need for the new government to bring forward a constitution that focuses on national reconciliation, internal peace and democratic federalism, vowing to effectively spend the budgets on higher living standards and economic growth.
The meeting discussed the 2016-2017 budget approved by the previous government and an amendment of the ’16-’17 budget to be submitted to the parliament for approval. The Pyidaungsu Hluttaw passed the Union Budget Law at its 33rd regular session last year, with the president saying that the previous government drew up its budget depending on its cabinet structure.
“Our new government, with its 22 ministries, needs to retune the budget for 2016-17 fiscal year in line with changing trends,” President U Htin Kyaw said. The Financial Commission has the responsibility to introduce a budget bill and send it to parliament for approval.
President U Htin Kyaw promised increased spending on education, health and social welfare to ensure more human resources, adding that development policies would be focused on the implementation of rural development, electrification, poverty alleviation and infrastructural development.
A 5% commercial tax placed on mobile top cards has gathered K7.5 billion (US$6.3m) revnue with the President saying that the tax will be spent on sectors that directly contribute to public interests.
“The country’s revenues belong to the people. The responsibility of the government is just to manage it. How the budgets are allotted shows what is on the government’s top agenda,” said President U Htin Kyaw, he also pointed out the need for greater transparency in budget allocation and use calling for systematic supervision of the spending.
As Vice Chairman of the Financial Commission, Vice President U Myint Swe said that the new budget included expenditures for the Ministry of State Counsellor’s Office and the Ministry of Ethnic Affairs with expenditures for the ministries being cut by 2%.
U Myint Swe noted that most of the budget remains unchanged. Highlighting that the lustrous border fence budget remains untouched, with the Ministry of Home Affairs responsible for the construction project at the Myanmar-Bangladesh and Myanmar-India borders.
Vice President U Henry Van Thio, also Vice Chairman of the Financial Commission, said that over K1.6bn (US$1.4m) is allocated to states and regions in the upcoming 2016-17 fiscal year. President U Htin Kyaw suggested the publication of a Citizen’s Budget journal after the amendment bill of the Union Budget Law 2016 won parliamentary approval. – Myanmar News Agency


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