More than 80-yr old farmland, irrigation taxes on spotlight

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Speaker of Pyithu Hluttaw U Win Myint arrives to attend the meeting of 3rd day Pyithu Hluttaw in Nay Pyi Taw.  Photo: MNA

A motion by U Thein Tun of Thabaung constituency discussed by three hluttaw representatives to amend farmland and irrigation taxes that are inconsistent with the market economy was approved by the Pyithu Hluttaw on the third day of the fifth session of the second Pyithu Hluttaw.
U Thein Tun said the farmland and irrigation taxes had not been changed for more than 80 years and should be amended to a rate that is not a burden to the farmers. In the discussion to the motion, U Win Win of Minbu constituency said if rates are increased, government from its side needs to provide proper services such as providing irrigation water in time of need and cutting it when it is not required.
U Thein Htun of Kyaunggon constituency said farmers are agreeable if the tax is increased appropriately. Businesses with huge land holdings may not like the tax hike, but farmers with small land holdings are able to pay the tax if it is reasonable and thus he supports the motion.
Tatmadaw representative Maj. Nay Win said that 70 per cent of rural farmers are facing difficulties from rising commodity prices, falling crop prices and a shortage of farm labour at this time and consideration should be made to these when amending the tax rate that would not be a burden to them.
In his discussion, Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation U Hla Kyaw said the water and embankment bill is submitted to the union government office and once Pyidaungsu Hluttaw enacts it into law it will be in accordance with this law. The motion is supported as it contains a clause to amend a tax rate that will not be a burden to the farmers. He added that there is also a need to participate in promulgating a law on land tax.
The motion was approved by the Pyithu Hluttaw as there was no objection to it.
On the question by U Thaung Aye of Pyawbwe constituency on the existence of any plan to allocate funds from the additional fund or state and region fund to finance the road and bridge construction works planned for rural development of Pyawbwe township in fiscal year 2017-2018 that was not included in the 2017-2018 national budget, Deputy Minister U Hla Kyaw confirmed that it was not included in the budget and could not be done but will be done depending upon the submitted yearly priority works. After coordinating with the state government, if there is an additional fund, this will also be given priority for implementation.
U Toe Thaung of Mongmit constituency raised questions on plans to maintain bridge No. 5/24 at Kinchaung village, Mongmit Township, restoration of farmlands in Thit Saint Kon, Pe Kon and Nabu villages and removing of sand and mud in Kin Chaung to improve water flow. The deputy minister said the sand and mud removal in Kin Chaung is a huge undertaking requiring a large amount of funds and even if the work is conducted, the waste from gem and gold mining would quickly silt up the river again and thus the gem and gold mining need to be effectively managed. For long-term benefit, the matter will be coordinated with Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation, Ministry of Transport and Communications and related state government to get the required funds. The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation will also provide necessary technical support. Possibility to clear a four-mile length to Nabu village will be assessed and related state government will be coordinated for implementation.
Furthermore, Deputy Minister U Hla Kyaw answered questions by U Thein Tan of Hlegu constituency, Daw Thandar of Einme constituency and U Htay Min Thein of Gyobingauk constituency on continued implementation of Letpan water pumping program for irrigation, solar lighting and maintenance of Yan Aung Myin pagoda road.
During the meeting, Supreme Court judge U Soe Nyunt said he explained and discussed on the 7th day meeting of the fourth session of the second Pyithu Hluttaw the motion to straighten the judicial sector submitted by U Tin Htwe of Waw constituency. During the discussion, he said the accusation of the judicial sector being weakened because of bribery and corruption amounted to degrading the dignity of court as well as contempt of court. Pyithu Hluttaw Act Section 17, Sub section 158(b) prohibits statements of irrelevant facts, assumptions based on flimsy evidence, inappropriate usage of words, and words degrading the dignity. Therefore, he said the motion is against Pyithu Hluttaw rules article 158, sub article (b) and advised all to follow the enacted laws and rules.
He had no intention of hurting or harming anyone in his explanation and discussion but after learning of it being otherwise, he would like to withdraw and remove his explanation and discussion from the record. He request for understanding and forgiveness on his action.
He added that he took full responsibility for the discussion and explanation he made to U Tin Htwe’s motion and he had full respect to the Speaker of the Pyithu Hluttaw and Pyithu Hluttaw representatives.
Afterward the Canal Bill was submitted and Government’s guarantees, Pledges and Undertakings Vetting Committee and Bill Committee read their annual reports. The third day of the fifth session of the second Pyithu Hluttaw was suspended at afternoon and the fourth day meeting will be continued 25 May 2017. —Kyaw Thu Htat (MNA)

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