Vice President U Henry Van Thio attended the opening ceremony of Kachin Ethnic Entrepreneurs Association (KEEA) and related economic forum in Myitkyina, Kachin State, yesterday.
The Chairman of the Ethnic and Public Affairs Management and Service Committee also inspected the possible construction site for a bridge across the Irrawaddy River and Nant Myit Ka Bridge and a site for implementing development in Myitkyina.
The Vice President was accompanied by Union Ministers U Ohn Maung and NaiThet Lwin, Deputy Ministers Rear-Admiral Myint Nwe, U Tin Myint and U Aung Htoo and other officials to the association’s opening ceremony, held at Sitapu Manaw Grounds.
It was also attended by Kachin State Chief Minister Dr Khet Aung, State Hluttaw Speaker U Tun Tin, State Chief Justice U Tu Jar, the state Advocate-general, auditor-general, ministers, Hluttaw representatives, members of the KEEA and Ethnic Entrepreneurs Association and invited guests.
Firstly, the Vice President and other higher officials cut ceremonial ribbons to officially open the KEEA building and forum in front of Ma Jwe Hall. He then gave a speech inside the hall.
In his speech, the Vice President said the decision to establish ethnic entrepreneurs association was made at the Ethnic Sustainable Development Forum in Nay Pyi Taw, held from 18 to 19 January, 2018. He said the Ministry of Ethnic Affairs and Myanmar Ethnic Entrepreneurs Association (MEEA) are planning to organize another similar forum sometime in 2020.
The Vice President said that state/regional forums like this one need to be held before the major forum next year so that potential regional businesses that guarantee sustainable development can be discovered and nurtured into thriving commercial activities.
The Vice President said national reconciliation and peace are essential to ensure the perpetuity of a democratic federal union; one that is aspired by the people and is part of the three aims set by the incumbent civilian government. He said ethnic armed organizations need to cooperate wholeheartedly in the peace process so that the nation can stand with integrity and maturity on the global platform.
The Vice President said development and peace go hand-in-hand and cannot be separated, and this equally applies finding sustainable solutions to promote the livelihoods of ethnic people. He said ethnic races need to build trust, cooperation and unite among themselves in order to strengthen national reconciliation.
The Vice President said that the national economic policy aims to be people-centred and inclusive for all citizens and will achieve this by supporting national reconciliation through an economic framework that focuses on preserving national resources, and distributing them equitably among the states and regions. He said it was necessary to grow a culture of active participation and cooperation in decision-making, discussions, forums, administration, implementation and monitoring in all sectors.
The Vice President said while there are still numerous requirements for national economic development, the most fundamental ones are having proper methods of transportation, sufficient energy generation, and a capable human resource pool.
He said private businesses and entrepreneurs can participate in public-private-partnerships to alleviate the workload on the nation while simultaneously generating profits for ethnic businesses and jobs for local residents, thus driving up regional development. He urged for every ethnic entrepreneur association should fully participate in this matter in their respective state or region.
The Vice President highlighted the State’s emphasis on micro, small and medium enterprises in all states and regions. He mentioned the MSME regional product expos and competitions that have been held ten times and organized by the MSME Development Working Committee.
The Vice President urged Kachin entrepreneurs to focus on promoting MSMEs in the state as while it is abundantly-gifted in natural resources, they are limited and will run out over time, and thus supporting the development of high-quality finished products and the service sector is important.
The Vice President then mentioned the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism’s emphasis on developing community-based tourism across the states and regions. He said Kachin State has many attractive travel destinations including the only snow-capped mountain in Southeast Asia – Mt Khakaborazi. He urged the ethnic entrepreneurs to cooperate in this matter as well.
The Vice President concluded his speech by mentioning his hopes for the forum to create results that would benefit the local economy and people and thus indirectly supporting the entire nation and its development. He said development starts at the individual-level and gradually proliferates to the family, community, township, state/regional, and finally national level. He said this is why enthusiasm, perseverance and collective strength are important to cultivate in the minds of everyone.
Next, Chief Minister Dr Khet Aung also delivered an address, followed by remarks from MEEA Chairman U Yaw Set and KEEA Chairman U Khet Htain Nan. The Vice President then observed exhibition displays at the forum.
After this, the Vice President met with executive committee members of the Kachin Ethnic Tradition and Culture Association, where he spoke on the need for national economic development in order to raise the socioeconomic status of each and every citizen. He said stability and peace are required to further develop the region and advised on utilizing the natural resources of Kachin State to boost the travel industry.
Next, the Vice President visited the proposed construction site for a bridge across the Irrawaddy River and received an explanation on its progress by the Director-General of the Bridge Department, U Shwe Lay.
From there, the Vice President visited the Myitkyina vocational training center in Waingmaw Township Development Garden (Maingna), IDP camp, and met with Daw Khin Malar, the founder of Myanmar Kindness Foundation. He then observed trainees receiving practical and theoretical training and later conversed with them.
Next, the in-charge of the camp explained the situation of the camp and the Vice President handed over souvenirs. He and the union and deputy ministers also handed over school uniforms, food and toys for the children who have fled from conflict areas.
After that, the Vice President visited the Nant Myit Ka Bridge temporary meeting hall and was given a status report by Director-General U Shwe Lay on the progress and completion of bridges in the state.
Afterwards, the Vice President visited the construction site of the Myitkyina Economic Development Zone and received explanations from State Minister U Wai Lwin. Finally, the Vice President viewed the natural scenery of Myitkyina from Jaw Bum prayer mount, offered prayers and made donations. —MNA (Translated by Zaw Htet Oo)