Economic policy due soon: ministry
THE Ministry of Planning and Finance is putting the finishing touches to its economic policy, which will be published “soon”, permanent secretary U Tun Tun Naing told The Myanmar Times.
He said he has submitted a draft to planning and finance minister U Kyaw Win for review, but did not want to reveal details. “Minister-level senior officials are going to discuss the policy and for now the information is confidential,” he said.
Broadly, the ministry will make the tax structure more transparent and direct revenue toward priority areas such as health, education and infrastructure, he said. It will also aim to allocate the budget more effectively, rather than reducing spending.
He said the ministry also plans to switch from a manual to a computerised system this year.
State media reported yesterday that the government’s economic policy would be unveiled on July 29, quoting an unnamed official from the planning and finance ministry, who said the document would be based on a strategy outlined in the National League for Democracy’s election manifesto.
This strategy, drafted in August last year, was based on five priorities – fiscal prudence, lean and efficient government, revitalising agriculture, monetary and fiscal stability, and functioning infrastructure.
The party promised to cut wasteful spending, privatise state-owned enterprises, run a transparent budget and clean up the tax system.
It said it would focus on creating institutions to support the rule of law, property rights, transparency and accountability, and would overhaul the agricultural sector with a focus on improving rural productivity.
It also said it would create a financial system that can sustainably provide capital to Myanmar’s businesses, farmers and households; reform the Central Bank; and build critical infrastructure through international assistance and private participation.
Planning and finance minister U Kyaw Win told a meeting of businesspeople in June that the government would focus on creating a level playing field for all businesses and sectors, and on removing monopolies.
He said the ministry also plans to ease restrictions on foreign investment and international cooperation, and encourage a policy of supporting rather than protecting local industries.
U Maung Maung Win, who was recently appointed deputy planning and finance minister, told The Myanmar Times in June that the draft policy also includes measures to help job creation and balance the agricultural and industrial sectors.
Since the government took power in April, the ministry has relaxed rules for company registration, directed proceeds from a tax on mobile top-up toward education spending, increased the highest state lottery prize to K1 billion and improved customs systems at Yangon’s port and airport, U Tun Tun Naing said.
A man shuffles banknotes of different denominations.