Long-term vi­sion needed for Myan­mar’s econ­omy to pros­per

The Myanmar Times - - Business - SU PHYO WIN su­phy­owin@mm­times.com

MYAN­MAR is still poor and has not made mean­ing­ful eco­nomic progress, a lead­ing econ­o­mist says, with ad­min­is­tra­tive is­sues and govern­ment mis­man­age­ment a key ob­sta­cle to mar­ket growth.

Ad­dress­ing a crowd of hun­dreds at the “Myan­mar Beyond 2016: Ob­sta­cles and Op­por­tu­ni­ties” eco­nomic fo­rum on Novem­ber 5, pres­i­dent of the Myan­mar In­sti­tute of Eco­nomic Grad­u­ates As­so­ci­a­tion (MIEGA) U Tin Win Aung, said poli­cies and de­vel­op­ment ini­tia­tives by lead­ers and pol­i­cy­mak­ers have, so far, come to naught.

“A very com­mon phe­nom­e­non with the fail­ure of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment is not hav­ing the ca­pac­ity, and us­ing the wrong im­ple­men­ta­tion, ad­min­is­tra­tion and man­age­ment,” he said.

U Tin Win Aung said that rather than govern­ment in­ter­ven­tion in all sec­tors, the govern­ment ought to fos­ter a pri­vate-sec­tor-driven econ­omy.

“It’s a time to change the idea that eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment can only be made by the govern­ment it­self,” he added. With regards to the NLD’s 12-point eco­nomic pol­icy, as­so­ciate fel­low of ISEAS-Yu­sof Ishak In­sti­tute Singapore U Tin Mg Mg Than says it would be pre­ma­ture to form judg­ments.

“The pol­icy struc­ture will be more clear af­ter six months. This is just where the govern­ment is go­ing and their pri­or­i­ties, which is very gen­er­ally de­clared,” he said.

U Tin Mg Mg Than said it is nec­es­sary to have co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the pri­vate sec­tor and govern­ment, in or­der to meet longer-term eco­nomic goals.

“We fo­cus on paddy and rice as the na­tional ex­port prod­ucts, but need to con­sider other agribusi­nesses by draw­ing up strate­gies. This move will need sup­port of both the govern­ment and the pri­vate sec­tor,” he said.

Tak­ing time will en­sure fewer mis­takes, said U Tin Mg Mg Than, recog­nis­ing that many in Myan­mar feel im­pa­tient at the pace of change un­der the Daw Aung San Suu Kyi-led govern­ment.

“Peo­ple here want quick change as they waited for a far long time in the past for eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. It is not easy for the govern­ment to make a quick tran­si­tion. We can see the change af­ter late 2011 un­der U Thein Sein’s govern­ment as well.”

The white pa­per “New Myan­mar Beyond 2015: the need for par­a­digm shift” will be sub­mit­ted to the par­lia­ment and govern­ment of­fice this year, U Tin Win Aung said.

He said the aim of the pa­per is to look back on Myan­mar’s his­tory, eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, man­age­ment and mis­man­age­ment, and look on­ward with these lessons in mind, to a fu­ture – he hopes – will be full of clear pol­icy di­rec­tion and co­he­sive long-term strate­gies.

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