President U Win Myint, Chairman of the National Planning Commission (NPC), addressed the commission’s meeting (1/2019) held at the Presidential Palace in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday.
President’s opening remarks
In his speech, the President said the day’s meeting was held to disclose, discuss and approve the National Plan for Fiscal Year 2019-2020 before submitting it to the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw.
The President remarked that the National Plan for this fiscal year was linked with the Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan (MSDP). He said the plan included programmes that were practical and immediately beneficial to the public.
The President said the National Plan needed to be considerate of the available budget. He urged everyone to filter tasks and prioritize the ones that would have the most benefit to the nation and its people, instead of planning tasks based on the budget plans.
This was why it was necessary to draw the projects and define tasks before requesting for a budget, said the President. He said this was something the union ministries, states and regions must follow and coordinate on.
He said it was necessary to assess beyond any project or plan and consider its results and reach as a whole. It was necessary to ensure the national budget was not wasted and the results were equal in value to the government revenue spent.
He said the results would be inadequate if the planning stage for the projects was insubstantial. Instead of coalescing tasks into one mass that exceeded the capabilities of a department, it would be better to categorize tasks in order of their importance or immediacy and implementing them gradually, said the President.
Listing priorities & operating transparently
He said instructions have been given already to select unfinished projects that were vital to the nation and prioritize projects that would bring actual benefits to the public, increase national production and investments that guaranteed results in the future when screening new projects.
The President highlighted the Project Bank, which aimed to organize project implementation and encourage private sector competition by making national projects public.
He said it was important to carry out tasks in line with directives of the Project Bank. He said national projects would be handled in a transparent manner through government-private cooperation via competitive tender system. He said union and subnational level agencies were required to oversee whether projects were in line with national directives.
Developing MSMEs, GDP
The President expressed hope that the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) would develop further in the 2019-2020 FY as the National Plan aimed to improve basic infrastructure, attract more foreign investments, continue providing capital loans, increase businesses from reducing restrictions in the investment sector, and pushing forward coordination in private sector development.
He said the National Plan also intended to develop the agricultural sector, increase electric power generation and distribution, reduce power cuts for the summer of 2020, improve transportation networks and rural roads to support travel and transporting cargo, modernizing financial services and supporting emerging new ones, and further developing the hotels and travel sector.
These objectives aimed to increase Myanmar’s GDP to 7 per cent in 2019-2020 FY while experts predicted GDP would rise to 6.8 per cent during the 2018-2019 FY, said the President.
He urged everyone to continue making the numerical data for statistics comprehensive and accurate so that policy tasks could be implemented effectively.
He said it was important to assess the feasibility of each project and whether it would contribute to the public and to regional and national development while refraining from damaging the environment. He said this would allow Myanmar’s limited resources to be used effectively and reasonably.
State Counsellor’s speech
Next, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi delivered a speech. She said everyone must carry out their tasks in line with the MSDP to ensure socioeconomic development across the nation. She said it was hard to implement development if there was a lack of peace and stability. Therefore, it was necessary to incorporate tasks that supported these requirements while fulfilling the needs of the people, said the State Counsellor.
She said all the projects needed to be chosen for their contribution to Myanmar’s sustainable development. She said the selection must be based on the procedures of the Project Bank to ensure they met set standards.
The State Counsellor urged everyone to review the lessons from the past to strengthen advantages and amend weaknesses. She said projects should not be chosen based on the available budget because, while finance was important, it was more important to select that which was vital.
The State Counsellor said that as Myanmar was heading towards a democratic federal republic, the states and regions needed to envision the pending duties and responsibilities while drafting national and regional projects coherent with the MSDP.
The State Counsellor requested everyone to work in unity with Union spirit while finding solutions for the challenges and potential shortcomings on the development track for the nation. She emphasized the importance of cooperation between the central and state/regional entities for driving development in every sector. She also spoke of the need to draft projects to address climate change and emerging situations.
Afterwards, National Planning Commission Secretary Union Minister U Soe Win explained the proposed draft of the 2019-2020 FY National Plan.
President’s closing speech
The President then delivered the concluding speech where he said the proposed National Plan approved during the meeting needed to be closely followed through its guidelines and assigned tasks.
He said the national expenditure would be increased this year to fulfil more public requirements and national sustainable development tasks than the previous year.
The President reminded attendees that the expenditure needed to be done in line with the framework of national policies and directives. He asked for continuous supervision during the entire implementation period of the projects.
He urged everyone to be careful from repeating weaknesses of National Plans from previous years and to carefully consider suggestions from the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw. Everyone must work hard to fulfil the needs and wishes of the people through cooperation and unity, said the President. —MNA (Translated by Zaw Htet Oo)