Bet­ter al­lo­ca­tion of nat­u­ral resources can pro­mote na­tional reconciliation: an­a­lyst

The Myanmar Times - - News - CHAN MYA HTWE chan­myahtwe@mm­times.com

THE gov­ern­ment’s eco­nomic pol­icy, re­leased last week, could dove­tail with its peace pol­icy to help en­sure resources are shared for the coun­try as a whole, an eco­nomic an­a­lyst has said. A state­ment re­leased on July 29 said greater fair­ness in the al­lo­ca­tion of resources among re­gions and states could help the coun­try pur­sue na­tional reconciliation.

The pur­suit of na­tional reconciliation through the es­tab­lish­ment of a mar­ket-ori­ented eco­nomic sys­tem is a key ob­jec­tive of the 12-point plan an­nounced by the gov­ern­ment on July 29.

Eco­nomic an­a­lyst U Ye Min Oo said fair­ness in re­source shar­ing would sup­port the peace process, with the cor­ner­stone sum­mit, the 21st-cen­tury Pan­g­long Con­fer­ence, slated to be con­vened later this month.

A re­source shar­ing pol­icy would al­low the Union gov­ern­ment to share tax rev­enues from var­i­ous sec­tors in the in­ter­ests of states and re­gions, in ac­cor­dance with ne­go­ti­ated agree­ments yet to be reached, he said.

Kachin State pro­duces jade, Shan State and Sa­gaing Re­gion pro­duce gold and min­er­als, and Rakhine State pro­duces oil and nat­u­ral gas. But all the in­come from those nat­u­ral resources has been flow­ing into cen­tral gov­ern­ment cof­fers, leav­ing no op­por­tu­nity for the re­gions and states to en­joy in­come from nat­u­ral resources ex­trac­tion, say an­a­lysts.

Kachin State Chief Min­is­ter U Khat Aung said, “Kachin State pro­duces jade as well as tim­ber, while the coun­try’s cen­tral zone can’t pro­duce any­thing. Nat­u­ral resources have been ex­tracted, but no one has reaped the benefits over the past 50 years of a dic­ta­to­rial regime. The in­tro­duc­tion of fed­er­al­ism would pri­ori­tise the wel­fare of states. For ex­am­ple, al­low­ing the cen­tral gov­ern­ment to take 10 per­cent, while the re­main­ing 90pc is shared out among the 14 re­gions and states. We have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to con­serve nat­u­ral resources from gen­er­a­tion to gen­er­a­tion.”

For­mer Pyithu Hlut­taw MP U Ye Tun said the gov­ern­ment’s eco­nomic pol­icy does not state clearly how resources will be shared out.

They pol­icy seeks to in­crease avail­able fi­nan­cial resources un­der a trans­par­ent and strong public-ori­ented fi­nan­cial man­age­ment; to en­sure the suc­cess of state-owned en­ter­prises; to pri­va­tise en­ter­prises that can be re­formed and to sup­port small and medium en­ter­prises which can sup­port job cre­ation and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment; to foster hu­man resources for the coun­try’s eco­nomic growth; and to im­prove the de­vel­op­ment of vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion.

Nat­u­ral re­source shar­ing has been hot topic at re­cent eth­nic or­gan­i­sa­tion sum­mits, in­clud­ing the key meet­ing held at Mai Ja Yang in Kachin State last week. The 17 groups at­tend­ing Mai Ja Yang pressed for the gov­ern­ment to in­clude dis­cus­sions of land and re­source man­age­ment at the up­com­ing Pan­g­long Con­fer­ence. How­ever, State Coun­sel­lor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has said only two agenda items will be on the ta­ble at the com­ing meet – pol­i­tics and se­cu­rity. Fur­ther topics can be dis­cussed dur­ing the po­lit­i­cal di­a­logue stage set to oc­cur af­ter the con­fer­ence, she has said.

– Trans­la­tion by Zar Zar Soe

Photo: Zarni Phyo

A KIA sol­dier and a res­i­dent of Mai Ja Yang walk on a hill­top over­look­ing the town, which hosted a sum­mit of eth­nic armed groups last week.

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