The Pyidaungsu Hluttaw continued its 15th regular session yesterday, debating amendments to the 2008 Constitution and discussing the findings of the Hluttaw Joint Public Accounts Committee on tax earnings of Union-level institutions in the second half of the 2018-2019 financial year.
During the debate, MP U Aung Kyaw Zan of Pauktaw Constituency spoke against a proposed amendment to sub-section (a) of Article 26 of the 2008 Constitution. He said he agreed that civil services personnel should remain free from party politics, as prescribed in sub-section (a) of Article 26.
“That basic principle does not block any desire of civil services personnel for political participation. They can vote for any party they like,” said MP U Aung Kyaw Zan.
“Civil service personnel have to be accountable to a government elected by the people. As long as the country exists, the civil service machinery will continue to exist and it should stand separately to ensure that they implement the policies laid down by an elected government. Hence, the basic principle that ‘civil services personnel shall be free from party politics’ should not be amended,” he added.
Meanwhile, MP Daw Nan Than Than Lwin of Hpa-an Constituency spoke in favor of amending Article 8 of the 2008 Constitution. The proposed amendment states the Union is ‘constituted by the Federal Democratic System’. The federal democratic system is inspired by the ethnic people, she said.
Regarding an amendment to Article 261 on the appointment of the Chief Minister of a region or state, MP U Aye Maung of Bawlake Constituency said he supported the amendment as it was in keeping with the idea of a federal democracy, which relaxes central control in the regions and states. The amendment to Article 261 was debated by MPs.
Ministry closely monitoring jade, gems mining
Union-level institutions discussed issues regarding the findings on tax collection in the second half of the 2018-2019 financial year by the Joint Public Accounts Committee at the parliament.
Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation Dr Ye Myint Swe said the ministry has kept the extraction of jades and gems under control since April, 2016 after issuing of new permits was suspended the same year.
The ministry’s officials are closely supervising mining activities, in accordance with the rules and regulations, he said.
Joint-venture companies with Myanma Gems Enterprise have to give 11 per cent of uncut jade stones, 9 per cent of uncut gems stones, 5 per cent of finished gems, and a service fee to the ministry, he said.
Twenty-five per cent of the remaining earnings go to the Myanma Gems Enterprise and 75 per cent to the joint-venture company, he said.
Besides, a system that allows MGE and its JV company to split earnings 50-50 is also being practiced, if found necessary, he added.
Tax from State Lottery
Deputy Minister for Planning, Finance and Industry U Maung Maung Win said the ministry achieved the target set for the 2018-2019 financial year by 100.82 per cent, but the target for the first half of the current financial year is still far from being met.
The State Lottery was launched in 1938, and the government levies a tax on lottery winnings.— MNA