- By Nyi Nyi Min (GAD)
Appropriate manuals are needed in maintaining the systematic, structured and fitting land management system in the country.
Defined by Wikipedia for a manual, it was mentioned as “A book giving instruction and information”.
“Manual” is a book of compilation on relevant instructions and significant information with regard to a subject, a theme or a topic. The term “Manual” is different from “SOP”. A standard operating procedure (SOP) is a set of step-by-step instructions compiled by an organization/ department to help workers carry out complex routine operations.
SOPs aim to achieve efficiency, quality output and uniformity of performance, while reducing miscommunication and failure to comply with organizational regulations.
Manual stands out as a reference document for a quick look and a handy tool.
Human resource is the key, vital and indispensable element in the land management. In recruiting professional and well versed land management personnel, it is necessary to put investment such as adequate budget allocation inside the country, and imparting related training abroad.
Investment must cover in the form of the modern technology, latest instruments, and interrelated training.
Proper land management leads to better management of other spheres
A veteran and old timer who served many years in land department explained in detailed on the advantages and benefits of proper land management.
A perfect land management system is so closely connected with other sectors, and therefore, it helps in the understanding to uplift motley assortment of subsectors that of the landscape of a locality; that of natural resources; that of weather conditions; that of the town land; that of the land ownership; that of the population of certain area; that of ethnic nationals; that of the religious faiths of the locals; that of the professions and livelihoods; that of the dams, reservoirs and irrigation system; that of other livelihoods apart from cultivation; that of animal husbandry; that of education, health, and communications; that of the income and expenditure of the people in the locality; that of the trend of various revenues and taxes paid to the government; that of the debts and liabilities of the people; and that of the security conditions of the area.
As the things started to roll out from the land management domain, the greater good of the country could be initiated, planned out, and implemented on the strategic point of land management.
Disputes over land remain one of the central challenges in Myanmar’s evolving reform process. Land confiscations and forced evictions were a major feature of decades in the country. Small farmers, marginalized, and poor class people bore the brunt as greedy people seized land for personal and institutional enrichment.
In addressing the problem and helping out the poor, all stakeholders must come forward and work together for systematic land management.
Land tax and land management are interrelated
During the reign of King Thibaw Min in Kongbaung Dynasty, the amount of land tax was accounted as one third of the total tax of the whole country.
British Administration in Myanmar collected revenues and taxes in many sectors, and that forty percent of tax was levied as agricultural tax.
When the functioning of land management is in proper motion, then the revenue and tax income of the country could be elevated.
The General Administration Department, under the Ministry of the Union Government Office, is a civil service body that staffs all regional and state-level governments in Myanmar and provides administration for the country’s myriad districts and townships.
In 2018-2019, the department has collected land tax amounting 4 point 886 billion kyats. The amount levied for the land tax is based on the rate being attached during the British Administration era such as MMK two kyats on per acre of land.
According to the Constitution of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar (2008), it mentioned as follows.
Article 188. The Region or State Hluttaw shall have the right to enact laws for the entire or any part of the Region or State related to matters prescribed in Schedule Two of the Region or State Hluttaw Legislative List.
The Region and State Hluttaws are drawing land tax laws, and that the new rate is most likely to climbed up to (200) time compared to the existing rate. However, the new elevated land tax would be MMK 400 per acre of land, and therefore, it may not a burden or heavy load for the farmers, peasants and cultivators.
At a time in the future, when the newly prescribed tax rate on land revenue is being in motion, then the total amount of land tax would have climbed up to 977 point 2 billion MMK compared to 4 point 886 billion MMK at the present time.
If the fresh tax receipt of the country is allocated for the low income public housing projects, it could be calculated that (90,000) housing units could be constructed for ten million MMK worth apartment every year.
Looking back in the past budget, the statistics of 2016-2017 financial periods showed 16,990 point 0076 billion MMK as total receipts, and 18,882 point 6442 billion MMK as total expenditures.
Estimation could be made for the future that with the additional 977 point 2 billion MMK in the government coffers, the total receipts would rise up to 5 point 75 percent each year, with the possibility of spending more by 4 point 2 percent on the total expenditures.
2016-2017 fiscal year saw that the Yangon Region Government incurred expenditure with 500 billion MMK, and that the revenue from the land tax could bear the enormous expenses of Yangon.
With the expected increase of land revenue 977 point 2 billion MMK; a sum of 50 billion MMK could be set aside for the purpose of capacity building with regards to land management such as that of realization of surveys and production of maps; that of the inputs of land records statistics; that of erecting copper/ metal pillars as settlements at designated areas; that of the upkeep of statistics; that of recruiting skillful persons in the land management tasks as human resources; that of imparting modern techniques on land management applications; that of purchasing modern survey instruments in the use of land management.
Such reform and restructuring in the land administrative sphere would surely help improve the land management system, resulting with the clearance and decrease in land disputes issues paving way for the success of sectors related with land use industry.
The collective successes would surely help assist in the state building tasks towards the federal democratic nation.
Deep study in this connection shows that the land tax collection and the proper land management are interrelated and mutually beneficial to one another.
Pushing ahead for the increase income of cultivators
Well versed in land management with good natured persons are to be recruited and trained in this campaign so as to achieve the desired destination and goal in creating a systematic and methodical land management system in the country.
Agriculture in Israel is a highly developed industry. More than half of the land area is desert, and the climate and lack of water resources do not favor farming. Only 20 percent of the land area is naturally arable. Through a perfect land management, a cultivator could earn equivalent to MMK five million on one acre of land each year in Israel.
A socio-economic condition of Israel is rising due to the application of modern method in land management.
A neighboring country is growing banana plants through modern method and is earning MMK 4 million on per acre of land each year.
In the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, we need to protect, preserve, and restore the environment through modern land management application to help assist in raising the income of the cultivators and in the long perspective for the good of the posterity.
Land revenue matters to be updated and incorporated in the law
Without putting heavy burden of land taxes over the cultivators, it could be arranged in simplified manner to collect taxes, but the cash involved would be enormous, risking with unforeseeable mismanagement financial transaction. The service personnel handling the tax collection might get into trouble due to overload of responsibility.
With a view to avoid such financial flaws and irregularities, the new land tax could be levied at the same time when the cultivation loans are being disbursed to the farmers. The collection of new land tax would also be swift and fast.
However, in the past as well as in present time, the land revenue and land tax are collected only after the seasonal crops have been reaped and harvested. It is therefore, the relevant cultivation laws and rules are to be revised and amended so that the intended collection of land revenue and land tax could be levied at the same time along with the disbursement of cultivation loans to the farmers.
For the sake of creating a better land management system in the country, the cultivators as well the people involved in the land use have the obligation to pay necessary taxes to the country without fail.
Looking into land confiscation and disputes will not be easy, but the relevant ministries should work together to resolve this chronic issue, based on the different types of lands that they have to manage, and sort out the problems, in accordance with the relevant land laws.
With a view to making a right decision over the land disputes, the classification and categorization of land types are very much essential and critical. In getting the correct types of land classifications, it is important that the mappings, the land records, and other relevant information must be easily available at the desired offices.
In conclusion, for the sake of creating a better land management system in ushering the nation into development, I am of the view that the responsible persons and the people must cooperate in this endeavor. Only then, the nation would develop in all sectors which would steer into federal democratic nation.
Translated by UMT (Ahlon)