Eco­nomic pol­icy due soon: min­istry

The Myanmar Times - - Business - AYE THIDAR KYAW ayethi­dark­yaw@mm­times.com

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.

Photo: Naing Wynn Htoon

A man shuf­fles ban­knotes of dif­fer­ent de­nom­i­na­tions.

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