August 20, 2016

Illogical reasons and Platitudes about price-hike and job opportunities in Myanmar

Tommy Pauk

Myanmar is an agro-based country with large arable land areas. It abounds in poultry, meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, fresh water resources, rice, sea food, cereal crops and other perennial crops. Myanmar soil is so fertile that every crop can thrive in almost every area in the country. Incredibly, the ordinary people of Myanmar have been struggling with uncontrollable price-hike of commodities for decades. The grass roots levels of people suffer the effect of rising prices a lot. The prices have been exorbitant and never-dropping although Myanmar has not encountered natural disasters like famine or drought for decades. There is not a scarcity of food in Myanmar. Furthermore, the total population in Myanmar is actually not big compared to our two neighboring countries_ China and India. There are plenty of fresh water fish in various wide and long rivers flowing down from north. Rice, our staple food, is sufficient for the current population indeed. It is one of the export food items. The greedy rice dealers increases the normal selling price, giving illogical reasons. The customers and consumers are never satisfied with the dealers’ excuses and reasons for raising prices of commodities. The successive governments of Myanmar have tackled the price-hike problem, but still they cannot stabilize the daily commodities of prices in the markets. The fluctuation of prices occurs in some countries because of unavoidable circumstances e.g the scarcity of food or natural disasters. In Myanmar, once the price of a certain item of commodity is increased, it never drops to its reasonable price. People who earn low-income or who are casual laborers or wage-earners are suffering from high prices of daily food or basic commodities. The sky-rocketing prices of the basic commodities, meat, fish and other kitchen items are becoming daily issues for ordinary people as well as the grass roots. However, those elites and a handful of the rich and the corrupt public officials do not care about the extremely high expensive prices. The domestic profiteers are not sympathetic for the majority of consumers. They always raise the prices giving lame excuses and this make people fed up with them. The greedy and selfish profiteers neglect the people who are facing appalling hardship. The authorities concerned had created toll free markets or tax free markets in which the kitchen commodities, meat, fish and vegetables were sold at reasonable prices in some cities for the ordinary people. The governments, domestic merchants and dealers are the ones who are responsible for stabilizing the prices of commodities. The government should be able to handle this constantly and effectively in order to ease the public suffering. The dealers should charge the reasonable prices and take reasonable profit on the goods they sell in domestic market. The vast majority of people in Myanmar being faced with the unpleasant situation of price-hike for daily meals. The cost of living is also rising steadily, whereas Myanmar per capita income is low. The price-hike has become an unsolved issue in Myanmar. Although Myanmar does not encounter food shortage or severe natural calamity, the general public have been moaning and groaning with the negative effect of unreasonable price-hike. The dealers or sellers of basic commodities always say that they have to increase the prices on commodities because of increased taxes, increased transportation charges, bad weather conditions, fuel prices etc. In reality, the fuel prices are stable and transportation is smooth. Sometimes, the deliveries of goods are delayed for a certain length of time. In this case, the dealers or merchants raise the prices and do not reduce the prices when the situation is back to normal. Thus, the prices are always up for no reason. People have to buy the essential commodities and they cannot bargain the prices of the commodities.
Occasionally, some of the politicians give speeches to public concerning job opportunities in Myanmar. They usually say that they are creating job opportunities for the able citizens those who are university graduates, and/or diploma holders. Normally, in Myanmar, citizens have to register with labor department under Ministry of Labor to ensure that they are willing, able and ready to apply for the posts fallen vacant at the government organizations or factories or at few private-owned companies. Another channel is the Public Services Commissions which recruits the qualified candidates and appoint them to serve as public services personnel. The number of domestic job seekers is much greater than the number of vacancies in the state –owned institutions, factories, organizations and government offices. Although the government is creating job opportunities in the country, the jobless rate is still high in Myanmar. The speeches of politicians are full of platitudes and empty promises on the unemployment issue in Myanmar. Some university graduates seek job opportunities abroad with the support of their wealthy parents. With the introduction of the market-oriented economy, Myanmar has opened up to the foreign investors, but still there are numerous Myanmar citizens working abroad officially or unofficially. However, those immigrant workers of Myanmar citizens in foreign countries are being used as cheap labor. Even then, they are being exploited and tortured by the local people in those countries. Helplessly, they lose human rights and labor rights in those countries. So the political leaders, Ministry of Labor and Ministry of National Planning for Economy should constantly and ardently tackle the unemployment issue in order to prevent the brain drain. The political leaders are responsible for tackling price-hike issue in Myanmar as well. The unemployment and price-hike must be deeply considered to be hot issues. These two issues have affected the general public directly. Myanmar people want stabilized commodity prices and decent jobs. The general public are frustrated with the platitudes of the speeches given by the successive political leaders regarding price-hike and unemployment issues in Myanmar. Nowadays democracy is going to flourish in Myanmar shortly and socio-economic development is already on the track. Instead of making speech of platitudes, the political leaders must find the practical and effective means and ways to solve the problems of price-hike and unemployment. It is the best way that the Leaders, workers, peasants, intelligentsia and merchants must cooperate and coordinate in dealing with stabilizing prices and reducing unemployment rate in.


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