Borrowing 5 million euros from Germany for the Myanmar Diesel Locomotive Factory (Ywartaung) and a Draft Law on the tax bill were the main issues discussed at the 2nd Pyidaungsu Hluttaw’s 4th regular session 7th day meeting in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday morning.
U Thant Sin Maung, the Union Minister for Transport and Communications, and Deputy Minister U Maung Maung Win of the Planning and Finance Ministry presented the President’s project to develop the Myanmar Diesel Locomotive Factory in Ywataung with 5 million euros borrowed from German KFW Development Bank.
Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Speaker Mahn Win Khaing Than announced that Hluttaw representatives wanting to discuss the loan could register their names.
Afterwards, the Drafted 2017 National Tax Law was discussed by Dr Aung Khin of PyinOoLwin constituency, Daw Ei Ei Pyone of Ayeyarwaddy constituency (8), U Khin Maung Thi of Loilem constituency, U Myo Win of Mon constituency (8), U Zone Hlyan Htan of Chin constituency (4), Daw Khin San Hlaing of Pale constituency, Dr. Thet Thet Khaing of Dagon constituency, U Ba Shein of Kyaukpyu constituency, U Win Htut of Pyapon constituency and Daw Wint War Tun of Shartaw constituency.
Daw Khin San Hlaing of Pale constituency presented reports of foreign exports of raw jade, rubies, sapphires, diamonds, and raw emeralds that are taxed at 15 per cent and 10 per cent under the special trade tax sub code (B). She further stated that increased taxes on raw gems promotes production on high-value merchandise, and income tax on sales of gold products should be modified to 5 per cent, and as the trade tax is paid by the consumer the tax rate on gold merchandise should be reduced from 3 per cent to 1 per cent, since tax has to paid by every citizen from birth till death a explanation is needed on why tax is reduced on gold merchandise purchased for decorative purposes resulting from a wealthy income.
Presented were findings that the Ministry of Planning and Finance could improve the stock market by removing or lowering income taxes on public companies listed in the Yangon Stock Exchange (YSX). Though capital and development are needed on the stock market, exemption or lowering of income on listed public companies should not be approved, respective companies wishing to receive exemptions should submit proposals. The calculated income from tax and GDP in the 2016-2017 fiscal year is 8.03 per cent and is predicted to be the lowest in the ASEAN region. Therefore, meeting the annual income tax quota, receiving expected income taxes by the government, and receiving full income tax according to regulations placed on taxes should be prioritised.
The importance of disseminating information on how taxpayer’s money is being used to support the country so that citizens shall responsibly pay their taxes and the importance of responsibly in utilising the leveraged taxes in providing good-quality services to the citizens were also discussed.
Dr. Thet Thet Khine of Dagon constituency presented findings that, while from a superficial look rewarding responsible taxpayers and civil workers may seem fair, closer inspection reveals this may create inequality between ministries and that the Union Government has assigned nine ministries to manage the 30 types of income taxes in the country. While a system of reward based on good performance is welcome among civil workers, this should be discussed and approved by all ministries concerned through a separate procedure, he said.
The annual national tax law should not be drafted inconsistently but a specific timeframe should be designated, and under Section 38 of the drafted tax law, Special trade code (22) sub code C, failure to pay tax will incur a penalty. And the system of rewarding 20 per cent of the penalty to the informant and 30 per cent to the prosecutor is the same as considering taxpayers as criminals and handing over the significant procedure of the tax committee’s task of examining to the taxpayers, reversing the progress of the current tax system. All laws drafted with good intentions should be carefully analysed and paired with practical procedures for its citizens, therefore the drafted special trade law should be reconsidered, Dr. Thet Thet Khine said.
U Win Htut of Phyapon constituency presented findings showing that the draft law committee’s amendment on the taxation of cigars – if sold for Ks10 will be levied 50pyars, if sold for Ks11 will levied Ks1, while compared to selling prices in external market the tax rate is only 5 per cent, therefore it is submitted that on the taxation of cigars – if sold for Ks10 will be levied Ks1, if sold for Ks11 will levied Ks2, because while cigars and cigarettes are termed as health risks they are nevertheless an important special trade merchandise and therefore as a compromise the taxation rate on cigars and cigarettes should be raised, he said.
The draft tax law submittals by the Pyidaungsu Draft Law Committee and discussions between Hluttaw representatives and other Pyidaungsu committees will be continued in the next Hluttaw Meeting, announced the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Speaker.
The 2nd Pyidaungsu Hluttaw 4th regular session holds its 8th day meeting on February 20.
Thura Zaw, Aung Ye Twin, Naing Naing Win