Myanmar Consolidated Media

Yangon Region govt facing K22b budget black hole

By Kyaw Hsu Mon and Yadana Htun
November 7 - 13, 2011

THE Yangon Region government is likely to run a “very big” budget deficit until at least the end of the next financial year, chief minister U Myint Swe said last week.

Speaking on November 2, the first day of the second session of the hluttaw, U Myint Swe said the shortfall would likely total more than K22.37 billion in the current fiscal year.

“Based on our revised estimate for this year and the budget for next year, the budget deficit will be very big,” said U Myint Swe.

The forecast deficit for the 2012-2013 financial year is K28.75 billion. The government did not say how it would make up the shortfall, including whether it would borrow from the Central Bank of Myanmar.

Regional governments began managing their own budgets on October 1, receiving an allocation from the central government.

Minister for Finance and Revenue Daw San San Lwin said the Yangon Region Government received an allocation of more than K15.6 billion from the Union Government to cover expenses in the second half of the 2011-2012 fiscal year, which ends on March 31.

U Myint Swe said that just five out of 25 departments working under the Yangon Region Government were sticking to their budget, with the rest running deficits.

Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC), which is responsible for most public utilities, was the worst offender. The municipal body expects to run a deficit K5 billion in 2011-2012, U Myint Swe said, because of high spending on road construction and the purchase of rubbish collection vehicles.

He said the government planned to focus its activities on industrial and agricultural development in order to increase future revenues.

The government set a regional economic target of K10.177 trillion for 2011-12, a 14 percent rise on

the previous fiscal year. However, in the first six months of the year the size of the economy was only K2.802 trillion, or 27.5pc of the target.

“As 23pc of gross domestic product for the whole nation is from Yangon Region, it is very important to reach our economic goals in Yangon Region. It is the city with the largest business community,” the chief minister said.

U Myint Swe said that efforts to reduce poverty in the region were continuing as planned despite the budget shortfall.

“We will slash the rate of poverty from the current rate of 16.1pc to 8.5pc in five years,” she said.

The first day of the second session of the Yangon Region Hluttaw also saw Mayor U Hla Myint submit a bill amending laws related to YCDC. U Kyaw of Thingangyun Constituency No 1 submitted two proposals, with one calling for greater efforts to concrete roads under the management of YCDC, the other concerning the provision of safe drinking water in Yangon Region.

The second session of the Yangon Region Hluttaw will continue until November 8.

– Translated by Thiri Min Htun