New government, same challenges

The much-anticipated 2020 General Elections has come and gone with the ruling party reportedly securing even more votes than the last one, but the “new” government has a slew of challenges to tackle that are further complicated by COVID-19.
One of the government’s highest priorities is national electrification. Recent government data shows that over 50% of the nation is electrified and this in itself is a considerable accomplishment, having come a long way from 31% in 2013. However, there are still about 23 million people who do not have access to electricity.
Myanmar gets about 74% of its electricity from hydropower and just 20% of fossil fuel. With four major rivers in the country’s geography, this makes reaching the government’s goal of 100% nationwide electrification by 2030 not impossible but formidable.
It is this writer’s opinion that the critical point the government should work on is increasing collaboration with the private sector to handle the daunting logistics and financial issues to achieve this goal.

That time is fast approaching, and the ruling party acknowledges it with their recent announcement stating they have sent letters to 39 ethnic parties in the country vowing that a federal union would emerge in the future, and that it would make a greater priority of ethnic people’s wishes in the future.

While COVID-19 has significantly impacted Myanmar’s economy, the nation has actually seen more domestic investment during the 2019-20 financial year than the previous year. This can be cited from a recent announcement from DICA stating that K1.9 trillion ($1.5 billion) in 130 domestic investments were approved in this budget year; an increase of about K200 million ($154,000) from the previous year.
Another topic the new government should increase attention to is the peace process. As the ruling party has won more seats than ethnic political parties, they will have to be careful and comprehensive in appointing candidates with the required skills and tact to positions involving peace and conflict issues.
The fourth session of the 21st Century Panglong Union Peace Conference was held just three months ago, and they came to a decision to move the peace process to after the elections when a new government has been formed.
That time is fast approaching, and the ruling party acknowledges it with their recent announcement stating they have sent letters to 39 ethnic parties in the country vowing that a federal union would emerge in the future, and that it would make a greater priority of ethnic people’s wishes in the future.
Myanmar’s elections have concluded peacefully despite criticisms of lack of transparency and the surge in COVID-19 but as we celebrate our next step on the democratic process, we must remember to exercise mindfulness with a dash of vigilance.

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