By Aung Ye Thwin and Aye Aye Thant
Union Minister for Transport and Communications U Thant Sin Maung explained to the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw yesterday about using the emergency fund of Ks6,426 million, included in the 2017 Union Budget Law, sent by the President. The Pyidaungsu Hluttaw speaker asked the Hluttaw to put the matter on record.
This was followed by members of union-level organisations explaining to the Hluttaw the 4.5-billion Thai baht loan for Myanmar, provided by the Neighbouring Countries Economic Development Cooperation Agency (NEDA).
In his explanation, Deputy Minister for Planning and Finance U Maung Maung Win said NEDA was an organisation operating under the Ministry of Finance of Thailand, which cooperates in financial matters with neighbouring countries. The loan period is for a total of 30 years, of which 10 years is the grace period and the repayment period is 20 years. The interest per annum is 0.1 per cent, while the interest payment has to be done twice a year, totalling 60 times. The principal has to be repaid twice a year, totalling 40 times. Fifty percent of the loan is to be spent on services and products from Thailand.
The Ministry of Construction is working to procure the loan, and it plans to pay the interest and principal from road tolls collected, as well as by including the principal and interest payment in the budget for the ministry. The union minister requested the Hluttaw to approve the loan of 4.5 billion baht from NEDA.
Following the explanation, the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw speaker requested the MPs who wanted to discuss the matter to enlist their names.
Next, Deputy Minister U Maung Maung Win explained the Joint Bill Committee’s report on their findings and remarks on the 2018 Union Tax Bill, as well as the discussion of the MPs on the matter. The Deputy Minister said private businesses had not paid taxes on their business incomes.
These were not illegal incomes, and so, they were not concerned with the money laundering law, but they were unable to use this money for investment, as the tax was not paid.
The existing tax (and related) laws make it difficult to assess investment and the purchase of movable and immovable items. At the same time, this hidden money is affecting the economic development of the country, said the Deputy Minister.
Tax support groups that were formed in townships, union ministerial departments and states/regions will jointly expose people who are not adhering to the tax law, and thus, the Deputy Minister urged the Hluttaw to approve the 2018 Union Tax Bill.
The matter of obtaining 22 million euros loan and a 5-million euro in aid from French development agency Agence Francaise de Development for the general maintenance and upgrade of the capacity works of the Ministry of Health and Sports National Health Laboratory (NHL), sent by the President, was then discussed by Dr. U Than Aung Soe of Minhla constituency and Dr. San Shwe Win of Yekyi constituency.
The members of union level organisations also explained the $340-million loan from ADB and $20-million loan from ASEAN Infrastructure Fund for the Ministry of Construction to develop the roads in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region, which was sent by the President.