Following is the interview with Union Minister for Labour, Immigration and Population (MLIP) U Thein Swe, on the progress in the second year of the incumbent government.
Q: What are the main duties of MLIP to perform these days?
A: As for our main tasks of MLIP, the first point is that cooperation is being made among the government, employers and employees based on triple cooperation which can foster the development of the country; the second point is that we have started the process of taking population census in accordance with the policies of the state with systematic approach.
Q: Could you let us know about creation of job opportunities for the people?
A: The first thing to do when we formed our new ministry is that we aimed at creating employment opportunities and reducing unemployment rates at the same time besides increasing per capita income of the country. According to the data taken from April 7 of 2016 to February 28 of 2018, there are some 2214336 people who are holding labour registration. It was learnt that there are totaling some 2214336 people who have already registered up to now. Moreover we created about 400000 employment opportunities including some 27406 people for Government sector and some 369426 people for private sectors.
Q: How do you manage to help the people those who work abroad as a displaced workers?
A: We have granted some 258 employment agencies for them, as a result we can send some 307767 worker to nine countries during a period of two years. We also assist many workers who cannot show valid documents in Thailand. We have formed two committees as a mobile team which can issue Certificate of Identity _CI for some 1033174 worker in Thailand.
Q: What kind of opportunities could you create for local workers in Myanmar?
A: The main thing is that we have already set the minimum wagers for the workers and could exhibit Job Fairs 21 times across the country with the cooperation of local and foreign firms as One Stop Service. Also we have opened up to 13 Migrant Resource Centre (MRC) for Myanmar workers.
Q: How about providing vocational training schools?
A: According to the standard of the National Skills Standards Authority (NSSA), we issued totaling 3022 Vocational Training Certificates including some 2930 Level-one skilled workers and some 92 Level-two skilled workers.
Q: How do you provide a healthy and safe working environment for the workers?
A: We have formed many committees for health and safe working environment for the workers in the 249 factories.
Q: How would you manage to cope with the issues between the employers and the employees?
A: During the two years, arbitration of the Department of Labour has settled a total of 175 cases regarding worker affairs for 2777 workers. As such, they could enjoy the benefits of Ks 760 lakhs plus US$ 50000. The Ministry of Labour has settled 305 cases and handed Ks 900 lakhs for 552 employees.
Q: How about child labour issues and challenges?
We have taken census with the use of ILO technology in 2015, 2017 and 2018. As a whole, we had collected a total of 28080 household lists. Plans are under way to set up necessary framework in order to wipe out child labour issues in Myanmar.
Q: What is the cooperation with other ministries and organizations?
A: Myanmar delegation led by Union Minister has attended a series of International Labour Conferences and singed the agreement with ILO in order to eliminate child labour. It is heartening to know that Myanmar has been chosen as a Deputy Member of Asia-Pacific region for 2017-2020 periods.
Q: How about coping with legal affairs?
A: Currently, there are some 14 rules which we adopt and with the remarks of Union Attorney Council, bill for safe working environment for foreign workers has been submitted in 2018 Hluttaw Session.
Q: Could you elaborate more about the welfare scheme for the employees?
A: We have settled 10265 cases for medical issues during the previous two years and necessary changes will be made to be more effective.
Q: Could you explain about the process of Immigration please?
A: Our ministry has relaxed some rules and regulations regarding the list of blacklisted people?
A total of 681 people including some 279 nationals and 402 foreigners were removed from the blacklist. Moreover the Ministry has already scrutinized the list of blacklisted people and relaxed some regulations. We have issued visa on arrival (VOA) to foreign visitors from 51 countries and permitted eVisa system at the airports in Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw. According to the bilateral agreements, we have made Visa Exemption Agreement with 21 countries and eight ASEAN nations.
Q: How about visa policy of Myanmar and relaxation of the rules?
A: We have already relaxed some rules and regulations for the foreign visitors.
The Ministry has issued six types of entry visa and three types of re-entry visa to international visitors. Consequently this move reflects a proliferation in the ways that foreign visitors can now enter the country, whether by air, by sea or via border gateways and we can be able to open 17 passport offices across the country.
Q: Could you elaborate the process of Myanmar Citizenship?
A: In two years, the government has permitted some 68 previous Myanmar citizen out of some 117 people to be nationalized as Myanmar citizenship. Moreover the ministry has granted some129 people as Permanent Residents among some 193 people.
Q: Could you tell us about repatriation process of Rakhine State?
A: We have carried out the repatriation process for the displaced persons in accordance with the bilateral agreement which is based on 5-point principle. We have built reception centres and houses to accept the returnees.
Q: How about the process of issuing National Scrutiny Card?
A: The Ministry has issued some 817947 National Scrutiny Cards (NRC) for some 14854 household lists according to the 1982 Citizenship Law. As for our ministry, efforts are being made to change NRC into Smart Card and Nation ID.
Q: How about the significant improvement of your Ministry?
A: All in all, I am sure that Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population has been made dramatic changes during the two years of taking office, and we are planning to set up Population Policy for future activities of taking census in order to be more effective. As such the process is gaining momentum. Therefore I am determined to serve the interest of the people to the best of my abilities.
By Khin Yadanar, Photo: May Oo Moe, Tawtar Win
Translated by Win Ko Ko Aung