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February 17, 2020

Step up war on illicit trade

It is an undeniable fact that illicit trade is thriving in Myanmar. Why? There are several reasons. Private firms in Myanmar are in the process of transitioning into listed companies. The nation is also going through another transformation: moving from a weaker to stronger rule of law.
To curb illicit trade, the government has formed task forces in nine regions and states which share a border with neighboring countries. The government is also trying to end armed conflict to achieve complete peace.
Illegal trade entails a massive loss of potential tax revenue, thereby negatively affecting the economy, natural environment, and society. Illicit trade also does not come under the purview of the law as it is operated by illegal groups.
Illicit trade violates the taxation law and has negative consequences. A market flooded with illegal goods makes it difficult for domestic small and medium enterprises to sustain themselves, while hampering the nation’s industrial development. Corruption and an unfavorable economic environment also scare away foreign investors.
The Anti-Corruption Commission has drawn up a strategy to fight illicit trade for 2018-2021, and is implementing the national-level strategy.
Hence, the authorities concerned now bear the responsibility of preventing tax evasion, giving protection to micro, small and medium enterprises, fighting illicit trade, curbing corruption, and encouraging fair competition in the market.
As the fight against illicit trade is crucial for the development of the country’s economy, the authorities concerned must work in unity and coordinate with each other to make the policies on border trade a success.
It is especially important to give priority to the fight against drug trafficking in the drive in the regions and states.
Effective strategies and plans are sine qua non for preventing illicit traders from taking advantage of Free Trade Zones (FTZs) and Special Economic Zones (SEZs), and to crack down on illicit trade in accordance with the law.
The fourth amendment to the Anti-Corruption Law, sub-section (A), Section-3, bars officials from abusing their power by using their position in the administration. Under the law, action can be taken against those who give and receive bribes.
These efforts show that the Union Government is stepping up its efforts to fight illicit trade. Hence, the people, Hluttaw representatives, private businesses, media, and the local authorities are urged to actively participate in the drive to combat illicit trade.

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