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August 08, 2020

Pyidaungsu Hluttaw approves ADB, JICA loans for Bago-Kyaikto expressway projects

Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Speaker U T Khun Myat. Photo: MNA
Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Speaker U T Khun Myat. Photo: MNA

Pyidaungsu Hluttaw representatives debated the proposal of loans for implementing the Bago-Kyaikto Expressway Project and the Bago-Kyaikto Expressway New Section Development Project during the 7th-day meeting of the Second Pyidaungsu Hluttaw’s 17th regular session yesterday.

Approving both loan proposals
The proposals to acquire the loans was submitted by the President and involves acquiring a US$ 483.8 million loan from Asian Development Bank (ADB) for the highway project and the 27.779 billion Japanese Yen from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for the development project.
Deputy Minister for Construction Dr Kyaw Linn and Deputy Minister for Planning, Finance and Industry U Maung Maung Win first explained the ADB loan. Speaker U T Khun Myat then called for a standing vote where 336 out of the 552 attending Hluttaw representatives stood up, thereby approving the proposal. Deputy Ministers Dr Kyaw Linn and U Maung Maung Win then explained the JICA loan. Dr Kyaw Linn said the Union Government has approved of the JICA loan for the development project during its (13/2020) meeting. He said they will follow the recommendations of the assembly.
The Deputy Minister explained that the project also involves upgrading the Thuwunna Training Centre which will allow them to conduct wind tunnel tests, vibration tests, testing equipment for bridge construction, and providing training to engineers at the same time. Furthermore, experts and volunteer teachers from Japan will be providing vocational training and engineering training at the centre as well. The Deputy Minister said both projects are actually a single entity and will be part of the East-West Economic Corridor starting from the city of Da Nang in Viet Nam to Thilawa Special Economic Zone in Yangon. Speaker U T Khun Myat then called for a standing vote where 338 out of the 552 attending Hluttaw representatives stood up, thereby approving the proposal.

Setting future date for loan, ASEAN agreement proposal debate
The Pyidaungsu Hluttaw also heard Deputy Minister U Maung Maung Win explain the US$250 million loan from ADB for the COVID-19 Active Response and Expenditure Support Programme. With no opposition from the assembly, the Speaker announced the proposal has been approved.
Next, Deputy Minister for Education U Win Maw Tun explained the proposal sent by the President on Myanmar signing the ASEAN Mutual Recognition Agreement Framework. The Speaker called for MPs interested in discussing the proposal to register their name and said the debate is scheduled for 5 August. Deputy Minister for Investment and Foreign Economic Relations U Bharat Singh explained that the agreement involves developed countries that can provide a wider market and opportunities for high-quality investments to stream into Myanmar. He said it will also enable our nation to improve legal frameworks for economic development, increase the capabilities of implementing bodies, become a part of the world’s largest trade region and boost the image of the nation. The Speaker then called for MPs interested in discussing the proposal to register their name and said the debate is scheduled for 5 August.

Debates continue on tax revenue, MSME loan
Afterwards, Hluttaw representatives discussed the Joint Public Accounts Committe’s report on the tax revenue for the first six months of 2019-2020 financial year for Union Ministries and institutions, sent by the Union Government. Tatmadaw Pyithu Hluttaw representative Major Daw Aye Aye Mar said businesses that failed to collect the full tax amount should be reviewed and businesses not included in the tax exemption list should be strictly monitored for accountability. The matter was further debated by U Saw Talay Saw from Shwegyin constituency, Tatmadaw Pyithu Hluttaw representative Major Thant Zin, U Khin Cho from Hlaingbwe constituency, Tatmadaw Amyotha Hluttaw representative Major Zaw Tun, and U Bo Gyi from Chauk constituency.
Similarly, Tatmadaw Amyotha Hluttaw representative Lt-Col Nyan Shwe, Daw Cho Cho from Ottwin constituency, and Tatmadaw Pyithu Hluttaw representative Lt-Col Zaw Min Oo debated the President’s proposal to acquire a ¥15 billion from JICA for implementing phase 3 of the MSME Development Project.

Other debate on public debt
Next, Hluttaw representatives debated the Joint Public Accounts Committee report (10/2020) on the Union Government’s annual public debt report for 2018-2019 financial year. U Khin Cho from Hlaingbwe constituency asked for ministries that took out the highest amount of foreign loans to offer a report on the number of loan agreements signed by year, the number of completed and ongoing processes, the number of remaining projects whose loan period has ended and plans to move forward.
U Thaung Aye of Pyawbwe constituency said no matter when the loan was taken out, it needs to be used within the set regulations for the benefit of the nation. He said the government and the Hluttaw must perform checks on each other to ensure the loans are used for their intended purposes.
The matter was further discussed by U Tun Tun of Pwintbyu constituency, Tatmadaw Pyithu Hluttaw representative Col Aye Lwin, Tatmadaw Pyithu Hluttaw representative Major Zaw Win Naing, Tatmadaw Pyithu Hluttaw representative Lt-Col Toe Lwin, Tatmadaw Amyotha Hluttaw representative Col Zaw Lwin, and U Bo Gyi from Chauk constituency.The 8th-meeting of the 17th regular session of the Second Pyidaungsu Hluttaw will convene on 5 August.—Aung Ye Twin, Aye Aye Thant (Translated by Zaw Htet Oo)

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