Friday, August 18, 2017

Parliament votes to dissolve MICA

Amyotha Hluttaw approved a proposal to dissolve the Myanmar International Cooperation Agency (MICA) – a food security agency formed under the U Thein Sein government – during the Hluttaw session held on February 7.

U Mahn Win Khaing Than, Speaker of Amyotha Hluttaw, seen leaving after the end of the Amyotha Hluttaw Meeting held on February 7. Photo: Pyae Thet Phyo / The Myanmar TimesU Mahn Win Khaing Than, Speaker of Amyotha Hluttaw, seen leaving after the end of the Amyotha Hluttaw Meeting held on February 7. Photo: Pyae Thet Phyo / The Myanmar Times

Dr Arkar Moe from Kayin State constituency had earlier submitted a proposal stating that while MICA was formed with the purpose of improving the state’s meat and fish sectors, it had failed to achieve its goals and “was being manipulated by certain groups of people”.

“So, what we want to know is how the factories, enterprises and land, which have been confiscated without having official permission from the government, have been managed and about the management of the money that had been obtained,” said Dr. Arkar Moe.

A total of 14 MPs supported the proposal which was discussed in Parliament on February 6 and 7.

Hluttaw Speaker U Mahn Win Khaing Than decided to dissolve MICA after obtaining a majority number of votes -- 140 votes – from MPs.

Deputy Minister U Hla Kyaw from the Agriculture, Livestock & Irrigation Ministry explained at the Amyotha Hluttaw session that the President’s Office will oversee the dissolution of MICA in accordance with proper procedure.

“We will report to the Union Government to get remarks from it on the decision to dissolve MICA.

“We will proceed with matters such as dissolving the agency, transferring back the compound, factory and land to the relevant departments in accordance with proper procedure,” he said.

The deputy mMinister said that the ministry will cooperate and work together with the Union Auditor-General’s office in settling money management affairs.

“In abolishing the agency, in order to be in accordance with proper procedures, we took the attitudes and considerations of the law from the Union Attorney General Office,” he said.

According to the Union Attorney General Office, MICA was formed by the Myanmar Company Act 1914 and therefore can be abolished in accordance with that law.

Once dissolved, MICA will need to clear all existing contracts between entrepreneurs and companies. The agency will also need to transfer the duties in its contracts to existing ministry departments.

“We are considering to imagine MICA as an association formed with the background of related governments such as JICA [Japan International Cooperation Agency], KOICA [Korea International Cooperation Agency] and TICA [Thailand International Cooperation Agency],” Deputy Minister U Hla Kyaw said.

MICA, which is established as a state-owned agency, has received the transfer of 48 compounds and factories and 92 acres of land owned by the Department of Livestock Breeding and Veterinary, 64.54 acres of Danyingon land and brick factory, and 17 businesses owned by the Department of Fisheries.

“Although the MICA is a state-owned agency, it has wasted money from the state, due to its poor capital management and poor administration,” said Daw Shwe Shwe Sein Latt, MP from Bago Region Constituency No 3.

“It couldn’t achieve the development of the nation’s livestock and fisheries area, which was mentioned in the initial eight points. Also, the MICA couldn’t create more job opportunities.

“That’s why we’re requesting for the dissolution of the MICA, for lacking transparency, and not taking responsibility, and for the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation to clearly present the kind of money-management involved in the current factories, workshops, and state-owned businesses.”

“MICA seems to be great in theory, but deficient in practice, so it will be dissolved; the size of the dissolving process will be overseen and will begin gradually,” Daw Shwe Shwe Sein Latt told reporters after the end of the meeting.

“We cannot say exactly how much the MICA possessed, it’s just too much. There are many projects, so the framework needs to be inspected in order for the dissolution,” she added.

“The financial related matters, and the legal paperwork, will all be dealt according to procedure.”

Translation by Win Thaw Tar, Khine Thazin Han and Kyaw Soe Htet