MPs discuss fund for the disabled, tax exemption

Amyotha Hluttaw Speaker Mahn Win Khaing Than. Photo: MNA
Amyotha Hluttaw Speaker Mahn Win Khaing Than. Photo: MNA

By Aye Aye Than

The eighth-day meeting of the seventh regular session of the second Amyotha Hluttaw was held yesterday morning in the Amyotha Hluttaw meeting hall.
During the session, asterisk-marked questions were asked and answered, and a bill on invention copyright as well as literature and art copyright were discussed.
Responding to a question raised by Daw Ei Ei Pyone of the Ayeyawady Region constituency 8 on a plan to set up a separate fund to provide full rights as described in the law on the rights of persons with disabilities, Union Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Dr. Win Myat Aye said the National Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (NCRPD) was formed on 14 September 2017 with the union government order 70/2017. A work committee on the rights of persons with disabilities will be formed with 15 members, which will include deputy ministers from government organisations, permanent secretaries, directors general and officials from the federation on persons with disabilities.
As the NCRPD was formed, a separate fund for persons with disabilities will also be set up, said the union minister.
At the moment, the rehabilitation of persons with disabilities is being conducted with the ministry’s fund. In the 2017-2018 fiscal year (FY), some 54 persons from Kachin State, Kayah State, Kayin State and Shan State disabled by mines were each awarded Ks200,000. A person killed by a mine in Kachin State was given Ks700,000. Six disabled persons who lacked support in Kayah State, Fruso Town, Taw Khu Village tract, were each awarded Ks500,000, while 31 other disabled persons were each given Ks200,000, and a sick disabled person was given Ks100,000. Once the fund for persons with disabilities is set up, full rights, as described in the law on the rights of persons with disabilities, will be provided.
The government had set up a law and rule for persons with disabilities, while arrangements are underway to set up a separate fund for persons with disabilities, and full rights will be accorded to them, explained the union minister.
In reply to a question by U Kyaw Ni Naing of Shan State constituency 11 on the plan to officially set up a Kokang National Day in Kokang Self-administered Zone for Kokang ethnic nationals, Union Minister for Ethnic Affairs Nai Thet Lwin said determining a national day is not related only to a party, a group, a regional organisation or an organisation that is in power. It is also related to the entire ethnic national community, as well as the will and wishes of the political organisation, cultural organisation, civil society organisations, religious organisations and all the ethnic nationals living in other states and regions.
Therefore, to set up a national day for ethnic nationals, a steering group that includes all of them must be formed first, and the will and wishes of all the ethnic nationals must be obtained. A national day that is set up this way needs to be recognised by ethnic nationals and celebrated. It is appropriate for all Kokang nationals in the world and the country to establish a national day, and the government should not set it up, explained the union minister. U Ye Htut of Sagaing Region constituency 5 then asked whether there was a plan to exempt from commercial tax the entire service supply chain of books, literature and journals published by publishers who had applied and obtained recommendation letters from the Ministry of Information’s copyright and registration department, as well as books, literature and journals that are imported through trade channels. Deputy Minister for Information U Aung Hla Tun said the ministry only issued a recommendation letter to conduct printing, publishing and news agency works, and these entities need to obtain the necessary work permits from the municipality. Commercial tax, income and profit tax are collected by the Ministry of Planning and Finance, and the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Information took no part in it.
The ministry of information had only coordinated with the relevant ministerial department for exemption from commercial tax. The Ministry of Planning and Finance had responded that although it is not included in the goods and services that are exempted from commercial tax, while the 2018 union tax law is being drawn, discussions should be made in the Hluttaw so that commercial tax is exempted for books and journals, and the Hlutaw’s decision should be followed.
The Ministry of Planning and Finance must further take into account the loss in tax revenue if the exemption is provided. The Ministry of Information seeks the development of the publishing of books and literature that raise the knowledge of people and will support tax exemption and relief, but tax is not the domain of the ministry, explained the deputy minister.

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