Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Poor parkland rent cause for budget deficit: PAC

Low rental income from parks and playgrounds in Yangon have been said to have contributed to the budget deficit for the 2015-16 year of assessment. 

According to the Auditor General’s (AG) report for the period that was submitted to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), there was a budget deficit of K114,303 million.

The PAC, after reviewing the AG’s report, said that among the reasons for the shortfall in the government revenue was the low rental fees collected from parks and playgrounds in the Yangon Region.

Commenting on the AG’s report, the PAC said that the lease of parks and playgrounds has been authorized by the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) and as such the matter is beyond the control of the Yangon regional government.

According to the PAC, the YCDC choice of private companies to rent out the People’s Park and Gardens was made after a committee meeting and not via a tender system.

It also said that the fee charged was very low compared with current rates and the company that rented the land did not abide with their contractual obligations.

“The rental of the People’s Park and Gardens is K20.8 million per month for 0.36 acres. That figure is too low for the leasing of government land. The current land price in 2015-16 was K3000 per square feet in Dagon township.

But the YCDC had leased the land at a rate of K0.88 per square feet,” said U Kyaw Zaya, the Member of Parliament for Dagon township.

The Public Accounts Committee also pointed out that land being leased to the Golden Duck Restaurant and Happy World Playground in Kandaw Mingalar Park, was done through the Maternal and Child Welfare Association at a low fee of K12.54 per square feet a month.

“The government only received K1 million per month from Golden Duck Restaurant and just over K2 million per month from Happy World Playground and not directly from the YCDC. We don’t know what annual increase in the amount of rent was collected by the Maternal and Child Welfare Association,” he said.

Meanwhile, Daw Sandar Min, MP of Seikkyi Kanaungto township, said the rent in Mya Kyun Thar Park is also low and as such government revenue is getting lower.

“Low rental causes government income to decline. If the government asks for a higher fee the increase will be passed by company to the customers,” she said.

She added that when the government leases parklands, private companies can only lease 20 perecent of the land for commercial use and the remaining 80pc must be reserved for the public. But Mya Kyun Thar Park land is almost entirely being used for commercial purposes.

U Ko Ko Lin, the department head of Parks, Playgrounds and Gardens at YCDC said that the authorities are postponing leasing of parks and playgrounds as it is drawing a new master plan for land use for parklands.