- By Aung Htoo
At the end of financial years, every economic enterprise or company is required to make year-end comprehensive statistics including the remaining balance and the profit and loss balance. Similarly, as for a country, it has to do likewise, in regard to the situations of the economic development in a year. Generally speaking, it was said that the year 2017 saw an economic slump in Myanmar, based on the data from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund [IMF]. Myanmar’s progress rate of the national income amounted to by 5.9 percent. Though it did not reach that of the previous year, it did not drop negatively. As for me I will never accept the ideas that Myanmar’s economy was in deep recession last year, according to my facts and figures I have found out. As far as I know, Myanmar is making active operation like other ASEAN nations, causing a dilemma in my mind as to whether it would be a hallucination. I had to go about across the nation on duty. Any signs of economic recession were not found.
Streets are being overcrowded with people everywhere. People are travelling about in the country as well as to overseas countries. Usually, people tend to make trips only if they have already fulfilled the basic requirements. Eateries and shopping centers are always crammed with customers. Extremely large numbers of youths spent their New Year Events at the entertainment shows. Uses of mobile phones remarkably increased.
According to my surveys on situations on the ground I saw nothing of signs of economic recession. Some may claim that I was seeing everything with green glasses. Myanmar currency’s value rose up by 0.3 percent, against dollar. Petroleum prices rose by 28 percent. Inflation rate was between 4 or 5 percent. Myanmar’s economy stayed stagnant, with stagflation not found.
Concerning agriculture, farmers got high prices for their paddy produce, K 0.5 or 0.6 million for 100 baskets. As for the rice exports as well, Myanmar rice export reached the unprecedented record amounting to 2.5 million tons. Those pulses’ prices dropped due to failure to import Myanmar’s beans from the regular purchaser—India, it did not drop under K 0.3 million per ton, the danger point. Under the protection law on farmers’ benefits, the government has already put K 15 billion as the reserve money.
The Myanmar Federation of Pulses and Sesame Merchants as well, had managed to raise fund of K 50 billion for the stability of Myanmar Pulse Market. As a result, mung beans rose up again up to K 0.6 million. From April 2017 to December 2017 nearly 50000 tons of beans were exported to Japan, EU countries, ROK, US, Canada and UAE.
Only 200 tons of beans were sent back to the country, because of contamination of pesticide residues in the crops, being a small amount only.
This also was attributed to raised designation of pesticide residues. Had these imported beans affected dangers to consumers in respective countries, they would never thought of purchasing Myanmar beans any more. But, it must be said that it was a warning tolls for Myanmar pulse growers and Myanmar exporters, being the warning that pulse markets would be destroyed unless the Good Agricultural Practices [GAP] were exercised. On the other hand, practices of consuming nutritious pulses have been and will continue to be cultivated among the Myanmar populace.
In the previous, crops were not much destroyed due to floods. Dams were said to have held water to the full during the past decades, being for the first time.
In 9 months period in FY 2016-2017, total value of export and import amounted to US $ 3.4 million. It will be sure that there will be deficits in the developing countries due to influx of investments into the country and requirements for importing commodities to be used in the enterprises.
But on account of increased amount of exports, the deficit became less than the deficit for the FY 2015-2016—US $ 5.441 billion, which had broken the record.
New investment law, new companies law and law for condominium which can attract foreign direct investments had already been promulgated. Governments of Regions and States had been granted authority which can decide investments up to the amounts of US $ 5 million, thus coming to persuade for influx of investment into their respective regions. As for foreign investors are now activating to launch Myittha industrial zone, Maubin industrial zone, Myitkyina industrial zone, Kanpite Tee Economic Zone, Eco-Green City and Amarta industrial zones. New Yangon City Project and Yangon SEZ are also under way.
Upgrading Yangon-Mandalay Railways
For the national economic development, it needs to develop infrastructure of roads. To fulfill this requirement, the Ministry of Construction will implement the construction of 4 way Yangon-Pathein railroad at the cost of US $ 340 million with the ADB loan. To reduce the traffic jam Thilawa-Bago road will be built linking with Nyaunghnapin industrial zone and Hanthawady Airport to be joint-ventured with the ROK. Concerning electricity Myingyan power plant began to operate at the end of the year 2017, producing 225 mega-watts more than ever. In 2018 as well, other power plants will be finished, likely to produce 425 mega-watts. In economic enterprises, the State Government and governments of regions and states will be balanced.
Though tourist arrivals seemed to have decreased due to Rakhine State affair, arrivals with visa increased by 8 per cent up to November 2017. Compared to the month of November 2016, a total of tourists amounting to 3.13 million visited Myanmar in eleven months in 2017, increasing by 20 percent more than the previous year. Due to alleviation of restrictions on tourism industry, it is expected that more visitors will come to Myanmar’s wonderful natural resources, cultural heritages and different kinds of ethnic people in 2018. Concerning livestock breeding as well, it is expected that more investors will come into the country because of alleviation of restriction.
In agriculture sector machineries have been utilized more than ever, especially in the plough, furrowing, harvest, winnowing and grinding. As a result, wastages of agricultural produce and labor have been reduced, causing production to increase by 25 percent.
Similarly, policy on vehicle import had been implemented as an extraordinary change in 2017. One of the promising export sectors in Myanmar is rubber export sector. Due to the concerted effort of the Ministry of Commerce and Myanmar Rubber Producers’ Federation Myanmar managed to join the international rubber association. Simultaneously, rubber manufacturing plants had been established in Mon State. With the increasing demand for Myanmar’s rubber from Japan and China, the Myanmar rubber export will surely develop in 2018.
Excellent prospect for the national economy
New items of export list in 2017 are coffee, avocado pear, tea leaves, elephant foot yam tuber and such and such. Establishment of agro-based industry will help food security for the region as well as for the global populace. That is, Myanmar’s economy is the Resiliency Economy.
Khin Maung Oo