Chairman of the Financial Commission Chairman of the State Administration Council Prime Minister Senior General Min Aung Hlaing addressed the first meeting of the Financial Commission (1/2021) yesterday afternoon in Nay Pyi Taw.
The meeting was also attended by Vice-Chairman of the Financial Commission Vice-Chairman of the State Administration Council and Deputy Prime Minister Vice-Senior General Soe Win, Secretary of the Financial Commission, Union Minister for Planning and Financial U Win Shein, Union Minister for Legal Affairs Dr Daw Thida Oo, Auditor-General of the Union Dr Kan Zaw and Deputy Minister U Maung Maung Win. The Chief Ministers of the regions and states joined the meeting through videoconferencing.
The meeting aimed to discuss and approve the Union Budget for the six months from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022 and the Union Budget Bill.
At the meeting, Chairman of the Financial Commission, Prime Minister Senior General Min Aung Hlaing said the State Administration Council established the Financial Commission on 26 February 2021, and the Provisional Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar on 1 August 2021.
“Although we are temporarily taking care of the responsibilities of the State, the Government has set the Five-Point Roadmap and Nine Objectives to fulfil the socio-economic life of the people,” he said. “As a government, we need to improve the public financial management to implement the policies,” he added.
He said it is necessary to strive to increase revenue to implement the policies and allocate expenditures systematically to the Union, and regions/states. In order to do so, the State Administration Council will enact the national plan of the State, annual budget and tax bills under Section 100(b) of the 2008 Constitution under the existing laws, rules and regulations.
As it is more appropriate for Myanmar which is based on agriculture to set the financial year from April to March, the financial year 2022-2023 will be set from 1 April to 31 March. Hence, the budget must be prepared for the transition period of six months from 1 October to 31 March.
The Prime Minister underscored the importance to manage expenditures well amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected the country’s economy as well as the political sabotage at present. In the 2020-2021FY, tax revenues have declined, as have state-owned enterprises due to the exemptions. He added, “We must be prudent in our spending, and we will make sure that we spend wisely.”
He stressed to use essential purchases effectively, to complete the ongoing construction works, and new businesses during the six months under the National Planning Law, and to reduce the use of foreign currency as much as possible. He also highlighted the need to spend more on projects that directly benefit the people rather than administrative expenditures.
The Vice-Chairman of the Financial Commission Deputy Prime Minister discussed the status of the detailed scrutiny of capital expenditures of the Planning Department, Construction Coordination Committee, Equipment Supervision Committee, conditions for the reopening of suspended state-owned factories as per the policy, emergency funding for natural disaster prevention, relief and rehabilitation, the provision of additional funding to the regions and states year by year to better meet the needs of the people, and the budget situation for the current six months.
Secretary of the Financial Commission Union Minister U Win Shein presented the Union Budget and the Union Budget Bill for six months from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022. Auditor-General of the Union Dr Kan Zaw discussed what should be done in the future based on the findings of the Union level departments budget estimates.
Auditor-General of the Union Dr Kan Zaw put forward suggestions on future plans based on the scrutiny of the budget and expenditure accounts of Union-level departments and organizations.
Then the Prime Minister said the government should mainly focus on the welfare and development of the country. On the other hand, it also carries out production improvements. Regarding the income, the Union, region and state governments need to work for the development of the production sector. Only when production develops will the people earn their income, and the country would receive the revenue in full.
There should be proper money circulation to ensure economic growth and it is mainly used for the development programmes of the economy and social status. Although it is a democratic nation, the government has many responsibilities for different sectors. The manufacturers should know their duties in paying taxes. Some people avoid paying taxes during the COVID-19 pandemic. It should know the legal routes in estimating the receivable incomes and the department concerned needs to review the tax revenue and tax rate in accord with the trend. Such doing does not mean to be a burden for the people but it means to get receivable incomes to provide public services.
The region and state governments also should utilize the allocated budget for the public. Although it is not a political government, it should adopt a thrifty way and spend the allocated budget on the implementation of projects that directly benefit the people. All the efforts are carried not for the prosperity of the government but the country.
Regarding the tender procedures, it should not choose only the close ones and it needs to follow the set regulations. Such corruption affects the country a lot. The region and state governments also should implement the construction projects in line with the current condition and should spend the budget effectively, and should not buy unnecessary materials. Only then, can it bring prosperity to the country during the current government term.
In his concluding speech, the Prime Minister said the six-month Union Budget from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022 approved at today’s meeting and the Union Budget Bill will be submitted to the State Administration Council via the Provisional Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar together with the recommendation of Financial Commission to enact.
Moreover, concerted efforts should be made for the development of the agriculture and livestock breeding industry, regular operating of the factory, workshop and manufacturing industry and job opportunities. It also needs to conduct researches for the agriculture and livestock sectors to ensure the quality and market.
The development programmes of education and healthcare services also should be conducted for the people to improve the knowledge and skills of every citizen.
The Union ministries and region and state governments should effectively utilize the expenses especially for the projects directly benefiting the public such as education, health services, social protection, electricity, road and bridge, rural development, drinking water and efficiency of agricultural water rather than for the departments.
The COVID-19 expense is also allowed in this six-month budget year just like in 2020-2021FY. It needs to arrange to provide the COVID-19 Vaccination Fund if necessary, and it is also estimated K100 billion special fund for COVID-19 in addition to K56 billion of emergency fund in the six-month budget term for the expenses of prevention, control and treatment activities.
Regarding the foreign loan and financial assistance, the relevant departments and organizations should cooperate with the respective countries and organizations, add in a budget and review the new loans or financial assistance whether they benefit the people, they are saved and they have any bondage in implementing the projects with the aids of foreign countries. Moreover, it should make repayment including capital and interest as a dutiful country.
If the country has strong budget status, it can reduce the foreign debt. To achieve strong finance, it should arrange to receive the revenues fully and manage the revenues from the natural resources sector and the contribution of the state-owned investment sector to the State systematically. On the other hand, the local and foreign investments will be invited to promote the government, private and cooperatives sectors. Saving the expenses, adopting the thrifty way and collecting the receivable taxes will support the financial status of the country.
Finally, he urged to exert the utmost efforts to implement the five-point roadmap and nine objectives of SAC using the allocated budget.