Ministries hold press conference on performances in one year

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Union Minister U Kyaw Win (centre) at press conference on performance during the one-year term of the current government at the Ministry of Information in Nay Pyi Taw. Photo: MNA

A press conference on performance during the one-year term of the incumbent government was held yesterday at 1 p.m at meeting hall of the Ministry of Information in Nay Pyi Taw.
Attending the press conference were Union Minister U Kyaw Win, Deputy Minister U Maung Maung Win, Ministry of Planning and Finance, Permanent Secretaries from Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation and Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation, departmental officials and responsible persons and media personnel from local and foreign media.
Union Minister for Planning and Finance U Kyaw Win said two checkpoints currently operating are arranged to inspect 2-4 cars simultaneously and inspection time for each car is for a few minutes only. Furthermore, inspection is based on solid information received so there is no interruption or stopping in the flowing of goods.
He want to put on record that combined groups of personnel from each ministries at the inspection gates were not misbehaving and conducting their duties responsibly as plans were put in place to reward such government employees.
If there is an increase in tax, it will be at a level that is fair and within bearable level for the people and the changes in the tax system were made after consultation and coordination with local and foreign experts
Of the changes, the first is increasing the Aung Ba Le lottery ticket charge to 500 Kyat. The prize money set at lakh 10,000 is sizable enough for the winner to start a business sufficiently well. Later, the prize money will include lakh 5000, lakh 3000, lakh 2000. By doing this, the people are providing indirect tax without incurring any burden. The Ministry of Planning & Finance is conducting this in such a way that many who didn’t win can also feel satisfied that these monies are used for the country’s education and health sector.
Myanmar Agricultural Development Bank was transferred to Ministry of Planning & Finance with the belief that agriculture sector will develop if the bank is properly utilized.  The Ministry is arranging loans not only for planting but also for providing capital input into the agriculture sector.
A plan is drawn up to enable employee ownership of their home by the time of retirement.  In addition to drawing up the project and finance related matters for this plan, coordination with other ministries were made to conduct direct and indirect work of this plan with the support of these ministries. Furthermore, attempts are made to use satellite in the ministry’s work. Implementation of e-Government process using DATA IT Card system will be started in 2017-2018. Plans are drawn to increase the power generation to 3000 MW in the coming three years.
Deputy Minister U Maung Maung Win said Myanma Economic Bank provided agricultural loan of 150,000 Kyat per acre to each farmer totaling Kyat 1792.811 billion in the fiscal year 2016-2017 through Myanmar Agricultural Development Bank. On the matter of Two Step Loan, in the fiscal year 2016-2017, 175 business owners were provided with Kyat 36,750.43 million through KBZ, AYA, MAB, CB and SMIDB banks.
Internal Revenue Department charged 5% commercial tax on phone calls in accordance to the 2016 Union Tax Act for fiscal year 2016-2017 and up to 2016 April collected Kyat 7.454 billion and was transferred to use it in the education sector.
For quick clearance of goods, Customs Department starts using Myanmar Automated Cargo Clearance System (MACCS) in Yangon ports and airport on 12 November 2016.
Financial Regulatory Department granted operating license to 170 small scale financial institutions to support the uplifting of the socio-economic situation of the 70% of the people in Myanmar who are living in rural area. During fiscal year 2016-2017 financial services amounting to Kyat 2354 billion in loan and Kyat 140 billion in savings were provided to 15,986 villages with a population of 2.519 million.
Afterward U Thet Naing Oo, Director General, Settlement and Land Records Department, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock &Irrigation said that during this year 53,941 farmers and 109,572 land owners were issued form 7 for 41,758 acres.
Irrigation and Water resources Management Department provided 4,196 irrigation channels to provide water for agriculture and conducted 1,126 preventive and responsive works to natural disasters. Drip irrigation system started on a pilot scale with an 8-inch-tube artesian well in Anauk-Palin Village, NyaungU Township is notable.
Agriculture department set up seed-producer associations and 10,561 acre of seed producing area was developed in 206 townships with 318 farmers. According to rural development of Korea, a project of new village movement, “Myanmar Saemaul-Undong” with the US$ 22 million subsidy from KOICA for 5 years is being implemented in 100 pilot model villages in 9 states and regions.
Agriculture Mechanization Department ploughed 885,000 acre, harvested 42,000 acre, and planted 7,000 under the machine rental system and it was 507,900 acre more than the plan for this year. Private sector is also complementing by providing 39 services in this area.
390 more cooperatives were formed in fiscal year 2016-2017. Transformation to mechanized agriculture and upgrading of the farms were implemented to 27,949.99 acres for 551 cooperatives with 7157 members. 20 service providing cooperatives, 29 branches of service-providing cooperatives, 20 combine harvesters, 107 tractors and other helpful services were created while 2303 small sized industries were registered.
Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department conducted pilot livestock count with the help of FAO-LIFT Fund project in 4 townships from Kyaukse districts, 3 from Meiktila district and one from Myingyan district.
Department of Fisheries issued 617 Catch Certificate and 3,821 Health Certificate for marine products exported to 13 countries. Site Network Certificate was obtained for conservation of Ayeyawady dolphins and Thameehla Island sea turtles.
Department of Rural Development expanded Emerald Village Project to 2107 villages and is currently benefiting 5,831,000 people in 8,756 villages with Kyat 215340 million subsidies, interest earning of Kyat 33,910 million.
With World Bank aid and loan amounting to US$ 480, the Community Driven Development (CDD) project was targeted to develop 63 townships, with 27 in the past and 20 townships in the incumbent government’s tenure – 47 in all.
Afterward U Khin Maung Yi, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation said that by coordinating with Ministry of Commerce, import and distribution of chain saw were banned to prevent illegal logging, 50,026 tons of illegal teak, hardwood and other woods were detained and Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Voluntary Partnership Agreement (FLEGT VPA) is implemented with the help of European Union (EU) to prevent inclusion of illegal logs in exporting to EU countries.
Reforesting depleted forests is conducted with a aim for long term conservation of the environment, maintaining the eco system, reducing climate change and sustainable forest management.
Arrangements are being made to have Khakaborazi area, the far north of Myanmar designated as the world heritage zone, designation of Indawgyi Lake region as UNESCO Man and Biosphere Programme (MAB) and inclusion of Thameehla Island as Ramsar Site.
Limited mining of minerals and gems was allowed but permit to mine new sites were suspended with effect from 1 March 2016. Starting from 1 April 2016, it was strictly prohibited to renew mining permit and on 26 July 2016 permit to mine new sites were totally stopped.
In determining mineral reserve, in the coal sector, there are a total of 1,168,345 acres of which 865,442 acre is in Sagaing Region and 302,903 acre is in Magway Region. In the graphite sector Mandalay region have 11,1100 acre and in the ferrous metal sector Kachin State had 8,047 acre making up a total of 1187492 acre of mineral reserve area.
In his answer to the questions raised by reporters, Deputy Minister U Maung  Maung Win refuted the information that the ministry would double the salary of the employees of the Internal Revenue Department.
He clarified that the ministry has a plan to give bonus to dutiful employees in accordance with the financial rules and regulations.
The ministry, however, would make assessment on efficiency, free of corruption and efforts for tax collection of the employees  every three month, he said.
Regarding the State Lottery issue, the deputy minister said 60 percent of the income from the lottery tickets sales are spent on prizes and 40 percent is collected as tax by the State.
U Maung Maung Win also disclosed that the ministry is working on amending the lottery law to run en e-lottery system in the country. When the e-lottery system comes into operation, the lottery might be held every two week.
Regarding the allocation of revenues, 15 percent of the commercial tax is allocated to regions and states, said the deputy minister, adding that the ministry is studying revenues sharing system in democratic federal countries.
Regarding the tax collection, Deputy Minister U Maung  Maung Win stressed the need to fight tax evasion.
Director General U Thet Naing Oo from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation stated that anyone wishing to truly utilize vacant, inactive and wastelands can submit proposals with the proper forms.
On the topic of agricultural projects running on foreign investments, Deputy Director General U Hla Myint Aung from Department of Agriculture explained they are currently working with eleven international organisations including collaboration with Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) for the three-year new village housing project started in 2016 with a net worth of US$22 million. There has also been an advanced project for one hundred villages in nine states and regions, while an average of $20,000 is spent on one village a year and handled with three guidelines as a basis. The first guideline is for the improvement of the people’s skills, second is for the realization of sustainable income based from the loan money, and third is for the improvement of schools, transport and irrigation sectors.
Director General U Myo Aung of Co-operative Department stated the Co-operative Bank did not grant individual loans and only granted loans for Co-operative committees’ improvements and developmental purposes.
Permanent Secretary U Htay Aung of Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation stated progress is being made in limiting exploiting of natural resources for future sustainability, no new lease for gemstone mining is being granted and renewal for existing leases are halted with the land areas to be marked as vacant land, while similarly new grants for mineral mining will be temporarily halted until a thorough review is conducted after the enactment of the new mineral mining law is released.
Managing Director U Aung Nyunt Thein from Myanma Gems Enterprise said mining for precious gems will only be granted to local ethnic-run companies while foreign-based companies will only be allowed to run businesses dealing in finished products of gems and gemstones. Director General Dr. Nyi Nyi Kyaw from Department of Forestry stated progress is being made in preserving the forests so that by 2030 around 30 per cent of the country’s forest can be marked as permanent forestry areas. Progress is also being made in increasing environmental conservation areas up to 10 per cent of the country’s area. Logging is no longer permitted and efforts are being made to restore existing forests to their original glory so that the next generation of trees can be planted as well as restore barren lands to forestry areas. —Myanmar News Agency

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