MPs may be recalled early to discuss extra budget
The financial commission led by President U Htin Kyaw has submitted the additional K1354.614 billion budget allocation bill to parliament, which may return from recess early to debate it.
FACED with higher than expected costs and sagging income, parliament could be recalled early to consider a supplementary budget bill, according to a lawmaker. MPs will be asked to add an extra K1.35 trillion to this year’s K24 trillion (US$20 billion) budget, an increase of about 5 percent.
In addition to the need for more funds, parliament has considerable unfinished business, including new legislation to consider, U Kyaw Soe Lin (NLD; Pyigyitagon) of the Pyithu Hluttaw Bill Committee told The Myanmar Times yesterday.
“The amendment bill for the Ward and Village Tract Administration Law, among others, has yet to be approved,” he said, adding that the additional budget allocation was “essential”.
U Sai Thant Zin (SNLD; Thibaw/Hsipaw) of the Pyithu Hluttaw’s Agriculture, Livestock and Rural Social Life Development Committee, said on October 31 that the parliament might have to be recalled because of the budget gap. “It will have to be done in November, so parliament could be recalled early,” he said. Parliament recessed on October 7. The financial commission led by President U Htin Kyaw has already approved the additional budget allocation bill to be submitted to members in the amount of K1354.614 billion, said Vice President U Myint Swe, vice chair of the commission.
Of that figure, K607.386 billion would be spent on regular expenditure, K553.726 billion on capital expenditure, K46.860 billion to repay loans and K146.642 billion in business investment.
U Myint Swe said some ministries had already overspent on their activities in the first half of the current financial year.
President U Htin Kyaw told the financial commission that both GDP and economic growth would be lower than expected because of tougher macroeconomic conditions during the past six months. State revenue had fallen because of a shortfall in agricultural produce due to natural disasters, reduction of forestry products, lower oil and gas prices and a slowdown in the mining sector.
The 2016 budget was approved in January by a parliament then-dominated by the outgoing Union Solidarity and Development Party. While the incoming parliament, with its overwhelming National League for Democracy majority, refrained from amending the budget in the previous parliament, the Speaker had said budgetary amendment would be prioritised in upcoming sessions. U Bo Gyi, a member of the Public Accounts Committee, told The Myanmar Times in July that 17 teams had been set up to review ministerial budgets, while other members suggested that ministries’ borrowing might be reduced. However, the revised Union budget for 2016-17 was submitted to the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw on July 25 with minimal alterations.
– Translation by Thiri Min Htun