2016 tax year, this being one of the high profile cases of tax collection.
Sean Turnell, associate professor at the Macquarie University in Australia, noted that tax collection shouldn’t be the entire focus:
“Notwithstanding the increases [health and education funding] of a few years ago, Myanmar remains the only country in Southeast Asia, and amongst only a handful in the world, that spends more on the military than on health and education combined,” said Mr Turnell.
The country’s high military spending raises eyebrows. In the 2014-2015 financial year, the government allocated 12% of the year’s budget on the military compared to 3% on health.
“High military spending in Myanmar, which has increased in absolute terms under the Thein Sein government, effectively ‘crowds out’ other, more socially productive government spending. It also puts Myanmar’s fiscal and monetary system under stress, and is at the heart of many of the country’s macroeconomic problems,” said Mr Turnell.
Inflation is a concern. Mr Turnell noted that the Central Bank is mindful of inflation and very much equipped to rein it in.
In a February press release the IMF warned about the possibility of a public service wage increase, rising property costs and higher electricity tariffs – all items that could lead to increased inflation.
The current inflation rate sits at 6.9% up from 6.6% in the previous financial year, according to data from the World Bank website. Inflation has been relatively stable over the past five years, it’s lowest was 4.2% in 2012 and its highest was 7.7% in 2010.