Vice-Senior General Soe Win warns assigned staff of taking severe action for weakness and bribery cases at checkpoints along trade routes
Whatever challenges emerge, the illegal trade process must be eradicated successfully, said Vice-Chairman of the State Administration Council Deputy Prime Minister Vice-Senior General Soe Win at the meeting 4/2023 of the Illegal Trade Eradication Steering Committee at the Ministry of Commerce in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday afternoon.
Speaking on the occasion, the Vice-Senior General who is in the capacity of Chairman of the Steering Committee said that during the period from January 2022 to June 2023, the approximate value of seized illegal commodities amounted to K127.054 billion in 7,011 cases.
According to the statistics on Myanmar-Thai trade from May 2022 to April 2023, the Vice-Senior General disclosed that the statistics of Thailand mentioned the export value worth US$2.932 billion but Myanmar statistics for import value, US$1.293 billion, which showed US$1.639 billion differences. So, it can be reviewed that these would be illegal trades within a year.
As illegal commodities still flow into the country due to the weakness of some assigned service personnel, the Vice-Senior General stressed the need to check and seize illegal commodities at warehouses and markets.
He noted that a total of 57 backhoes worth K4.531 billion used in the illegal excavation of natural resources were seized in Kachin State and Taninthayi Region in June 2023. From January 2022 to June 2023, the value of seizures amounted to K4.421 billion in 1,462 cases, accounting for 3.48 per cent of the total seizures.
The Vice-Senior General highlighted that the illegal trade process used detours for transportation and also passed the checkpoints and security gates with bribery money. Chairmen of special task forces and in-charge directors-general of OSS have to strictly supervise functions of checkpoints and security gates not to commit bribery cases. If the union-level officials find the cases, severe action will be taken against the staff assigned to relevant posts and officials at different levels, he added.
He continued to say that in reviewing the seizures in June 2023, the amounts of seizures were larger than that of the previous month. According to the reviews on commodity groups, the monthly balance of the seizures amounted to K11.816 billion and the vehicle group K7.822 billion, exceeding K4.254 billion rather than the previous month but seizures of agricultural produce, timbers, raw materials, personal goods, foodstuffs and live animals declined. The seizure volume at main checkpoints such as Mayanchaung, Kawkareik Tadakyoe, Muse 105th-Mile, international airports and ports remarkably declined. It must be reviewed that the root causes of declining the seized volume were based on the weakness of relevant task forces and assigned staff.
The Vice-Senior General underlined that the Bill of Loading system has been operated on test since 1 December 2022 for easing the inspecting the cargo trucks along the trade routes. So, it is necessary to submit the assessment of the difficulties of staff, drivers and businesspersons in applying the bill of loading system for making decisions.
Staff members from the checkpoints have to take care of export items and tonnage mentioned in the QR code to be in harmony with export items and tonnage on the trucks. MACSS, Myanmar Tradenet 2.0 and MyCO systems are very good systems in the online trade process. But any system is not perfect. It is necessary to review the difficulties and weaknesses in applying the system to amend it to be better.
The Vice-Senior General stressed that relevant departments need to submit reports continuously to the steering committee on the implementation of the National Single Window System, the Single Window Inspection (SWI) and Single Stop Customs Inspection (SSCI).
He pointed out that whatever challenges emerge, the illegal trade process must be successfully eradicated. It is necessary to check and ban illegal trade goods to be taken action at border regions and trade routes as well as warehouses and markets. Effective action must be taken against illegal excavation of natural resources at home, he added.
The Vice-Senior General urged all to submit an assessment on the bill of loading system and implement the e-lock system as quickly as possible.
Union ministers and officials reported on the accomplishments of the minute of the meeting on 3/2023, comparison of export and import between Myanmar and Thailand, prevention of illegal import goods through illegal routes, seizures of illegal commodities and implementation of modern systems.
The meeting ended with a concluding remark of the Vice-Senior General. — MNA/TTA