Friday, July 21, 2017

Committee to steer NLD’s economic policies launched

President U Htin Kyaw yesterday announced an 11-member committee of parliamentarians, financial experts and ministers to coordinate economic policies.

“For a stable and strong economic policy, reforms are needed in the trade, finance, banking, investment, agriculture, forestry and industry sectors,” read a statement released by the President’s Office yesterday.

Led by National Planning and Finance Minister U Kyaw Win, the committee includes outspoken parliamentarians like Daw Khin San Hlaing and business analysts from the private sector, ruling party figures, and retired and incumbent government officials.

President Office’s deputy director general U Zaw Htay said, “They will work together with the ministries as well as with businesses in private sectors for economic development.”

The committee is responsible for reviewing trade, monetary, fiscal and investment policies. It will convene every month and submit reports on economic policies to the Union government. The committee will also be tasked with coordinating with a government policy and planning think tank in the works.

U Khin Maung Lwin, deputy permanent secretary of the Ministry of Commerce, said his ministry has received suggestions from businesses to ease and clarify rules and regulations on imports and exports.

The Ministry of Commerce introduced a 2 percent advance income tax on the custom value of nearly all imports and exports with the intention of scrutinising income tax on trades. However, traders complained the rule caused a bottleneck and stymied investment in the industry, as money has to be paid in advance.

“If that is removed, there would be a reduction in the national income and the question is how we replace that,” U Khin Maung Lwin said.

U Kyaw Win, minister for national planning and finance, told a workshop in Yangon this week that the ministry will soon unveil Myanmar’s economic policies, which will include easing foreign investment restrictions and ending monopolies.

Minister for Commerce U Than Myint will serve as vice chair of the new committee. Daw Sandar Oo, director general of the financial regulatory department under the finance and planning ministry, will serve as committee secretary.

Members include U Sat Aung and U Soe Min from the Central Bank of Myanmar and U Khin Aye and Daw Khin San Hlaing from the Pyithu Hluttaw’s Banks and Monetary Development Committee, as well as U Han Thar Myint, a senior figure of the NLD, and U Myo Myint, former deputy director general of the now-merged National Planning and Economic Development Ministry.

The two private sector investors on the committee are U Soe Win, a member of Deloitte Myanmar Association, and U Bo Bo Nge, department head of research and risk management at KBZ Bank.