A meeting of the Finance Commission meeting was held yesterday morning at the Presidential Palace.
The meeting was attended by State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Finance Commission Vice-Chairman Vice-President U Henry Van Thio, secretary Union Minister U Kyaw Win, members Union Attorney General, Union Auditor General, Nay Pyi Taw Council Chairman, states and regions Chief Ministers.
“The present 1/2018 meeting of the Finance Commission is to discuss and adopt the Budget Estimate for 2018 April to September of the Union and Bill on 2018 Budget of the Union”, the President said
Section 221 of 2008 Constitution requires that the Union Government draft a Union Budget Bill based on the annual Union budget, after coordinating with the Financial Commission, and submit it for approval to the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw. As per this section, the Financial Commission is to support the Budget Estimate for 2018 April to September of the Union submitted by the Government to the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw.
The fiscal year in Myanmar was originally designated to be from 1 April to 31 March, but for fiscal year 2018-2019, it will be changed to 1 October to 30 September. That is why the budget estimate of departments and organisations for the six-month transition period of 1 April to 30 September 2018 is now being drawn up separately.
Spending frameworks according to the Medium-Term Fiscal Framework for union-level departments and organisations were not set as the budget for 1 April to 30 September 2018 is for a six-month period only. Respective departments and organisations were instead asked to draw up a six-month estimate of income and expenditures, and these departments and organisations had submitted budgets accordingly. Assessment in stages of the budget was based on the corrected budget of the first six months of fiscal year 2017-2018 budget.
In the ordinary expenditure of appointing new staff, the request for expenditure should be only for the actual number of new staff that will be appointed in the coming year’s first six month. Maintenance expenditure requested for machineries, vehicles and buildings should also be for the maintenance works that can be completed in the six months period.
In the capital expenditure portion, ongoing construction works and works that can be completed during the six months period is to be requested. It is to be noted that in the six-month budget period only the first two months are in the summertime while the remaining four months will be in the rainy season. It is not possible to complete new works in this period and thus there shouldn’t be requests for new works during this period. Expenditure requests to purchase machinery during this six-month period should be for those that can be purchased within this period. Machinery purchases should be in local currency and use of foreign currency should be reduced as much as possible.
The Union Government will not use macroeconomic indicators and indexes to fulfil the deficits of states and regions and will set 50 per cent of the deficit amount of fiscal year 2017-2018. States/Regions governments should use these funds for the benefit of the people and must follow the instructions and tender rules in a transparent manner in conducting construction and purchasing works.
Implementation period for the six-month budget is short and expenditures should be spent based on income. Expenditures are to be spent efficiently during the six months period to prevent waste. Only then will the expenditure GDP ratio be maintained. While the private sector is being supported for the country’s economic development, the government sector needs to lay down financial policies that will support economic development with full collection of tax and income from state economic organisations. Expenditures should be spent as a priority on increasing and supporting manufacturing and services.
Acquired foreign aid and loans should be spent effectively for the people. If foreign aid and loans are allocated without having sufficient time to spend it during the six-month period, there’ll be unspent expenditures that will have to be refunded.
The Budget Estimate for 2018 April to September of the Union and Bill on the 2018 Budget of the Union are urged to be discussed and adopted said the President.
Finance Commission Vice-Chairman Vice-President U Henry Van Thio said the Union fulfillment is Ks853.79 billion and the budget submitted by states and regions had a total income of Ks376.74 billion and a total expenditure of Ks1.23 trillion, making for a deficit of Ks853.79 billion.
Assessments were made on the expenditures for the six months and a total of Ks34.713 billion was reduced from the states and regions expenditures. After this reduction, the states and regions had a total income of Ks376.743 billion and a total expenditure of 1,195.82 billion, making for a deficit of Ks819.077 billion, said the Vice President.
Union Minister for Planning and Finance U Kyaw Win, Secretary of the Finance Commission, explained the Budget Estimate for 2018 April to September of the Union and Bill on 2018 Budget of the Union. Finance Commission members Nay Pyi Taw Council Chairman, states and regions chief ministers then explained about the tax collection, income, expenditure and deficits of the respective states and regions.
In his concluding speech, Chairman of Finance Commission President U Htin Kyaw said the benefits gained from re-designating the financial year is far beyond the expenses incurred and is believed to enable the economic development of the country.
Union-level departments and organisations need to coordinate with states and regions governments so that there are no duplications in the expenditures requested at the union level and states and regions level.
In making investments for basic infrastructure development of the country, union-level departments and organisations and states and regions governments need to draw up and implement projects that are in line with the 12 economic policies laid out by the union and the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals.
The government needs to make expenditures for the benefit of the people, and at the same time, try to increase income. There is a need to increase income through production and services as well as in collecting tax and other incomes. All the while, expenses on education, health and other expenses like electricity, road and telecommunication, agriculture, livestock breeding and basic infrastructure need to be spent for the benefit of the people.
Works in finance should be conducted according to prescribed rules and regulations as well as financial management regulations and must be transparent and ready for auditing at any time, said the President. — Myanmar News Agency