Pyidaungsu Hluttaw approves two intergovernmental agreements for railways, dry ports

Deputy Minister for Defence Rear Admiral Myint Nwe

Pyidaungsu Hluttaw listened to Union-level officials explain a proposal to acquire a loan from Asian Development Bank for the COVID-19 response and expenditure support programme and another proposal to acquire a loan from JICA to implement phase 3 of the MSMEs development project at the 4th-day meeting of its 17th regular session yesterday.

Two bills, CERP & ADB loan
Firstly, Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Joint Bill Committee member U Aung Kyi Nyunt read the committee’s report on the second bill amending the Public Debt Management Law and Speaker U T Khun Myat called for MPs interested in debating the bill to register their names.
Deputy Minister for Planning, Finance and Industry U Sett Aung then explained the COVID-19 Economic Relief Plan (CERP) and the Speaker announced the assembly will put on record the Union-level official’s explanation and the discussions of the Hluttaw representatives.
Next, Deputy Minister for Planning, Finance and Industry U Maung Maung Win explained the proposal to acquire US$ 250 million from ADB to fund the COVID-19 response and expenditure support programme. The Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Speaker then announced the date for discussing the proposal will be on 27 July and called for MPs interested in debating it to register their name.
This was followed by Joint Bill Committee Secretary Dr Myat Nyana Soe reading the National Library Bill to the assembly and the Speaker seeking the opinion for each paragraph of the bill before approving it. The bill has received differing views from the Amyotha and Pyithu Hluttaws. The Speaker said the sections agreed upon by both Hluttaws will be kept as they are while the sections contested upon will be changed according to the decision of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw.

JICA loan for MSMEs
Deputy Minister U Maung Maung Win explained the proposal to acquire JPY15 billion from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to implement phase 3 of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) development project. He explained that MoPFI will act as the borrower and Myanma Economic Bank will act as the representative while the loan will be given out MSMEs through Participating Financial Institutions (PFI). Certain private banks are also joining as PFIs.
The Phase 3 primarily aims at giving loans to MSMEs suffering economic repercussions caused by COVID-19 and will levy 5.5 per cent as the annual interest rate. The interest to be paid for the loan during the deferment period is estimated at JPY1.5 million per year and JPY493.329 million per year in interest and principal during the repayment period.
Repayment to JICA will only be made with repayments from MSMEs that took out loans, while keeping it within the budget of Myanmar Economic Bank, and will not be repaid using the union budget. The Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Speaker then announced the proposal is set to be debated on 31 July and called for MPs interested in debating it to register their names.

Union Ministries explain budget expenses
Union-level officials responded to reports from the Joint Public Accounts Committee and discussions from Hluttaw representatives regarding the annual reports of the 2018-2019FY National Plan and Union Budget expenses.

Ministry of Defence
Deputy Minister for Defence Rear Admiral Myint Nwe explained that his ministry returned K53.878 billion in general surplus funds for 2018-2019 FY. The surplus was made of K43.996 billion from revenue expenditure, K8.613 billion from capital expenditure, K0.386 billion from interest payment expenditure, and K0.883 billion from debt payment expenditure, making up 1.5 per cent of the ministry’s allocated budget.

Ministry of Electricity and Energy
Deputy Minister for Electricity and Energy U Khin Maung Win explained hydropower production reached 3,255 MW in 2016-2017FY, 3,263 MW in 2019-2020FY and is expected to produce 3,263 MW as well for 2020-2021FY.
Natural gas energy production reached 1,901 MW in 2016-2017FY, 3,611 MW in 2019-2020 FY and is expected to produce 4,253 MW for 2020-2021FY. The combined energy production from Ti Kyit Coal Power Station, diesel and solar power reached 5,364 MW in 2016-2017FY, 7,151 MW in 2019-2020FY and is expected to produce 8,767 MW for 2020-2021FY.
The ministry succeeded in supplying electricity to 50 per cent of the nation in December 2019 and expects to supply 55 per cent of the nation in 2022, 75 per cent in 2025, and 100 per cent by 2030.
The ministry was allocated K7,075.925 billion for 2018-2019 FY, a 0.86 per cent increase from its proposed budget, and managed to return K352.755 billion in general surplus funds. The surplus was made of K22.151 billion from revenue expenditure, K329.179 from capital expenditure, and K1.425 billion from debt payment expenditure.
The matter was further discussed by Union Minister for Transport and Communications U Thant Sin Maung, Union Minister for Construction U Han Zaw, Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation U Hla Kyaw, Deputy Minister for Education U Win Maw Tun, Deputy Minister for Health and Sports Dr Mya Lay Sein, and Deputy Minister U Maung Maung Win on behalf of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Planning, Finance and Industry.
Joint Public Accounts Committee Secretary U Khin Maung Than then tabled for the Hluttaw to approve of reports (4/2020) and (5/2020). The Speaker gathered the deliberation of the Hluttaw, received no opposition, and announced the reports have been approved by the assembly. The annual reports of the 2018-2019FY National Plan and Union Budget expenses were put on record.

Approving Trans-Asian Railway agreement
MPs then debated a proposal from the President to sign an intergovernmental agreement for the Trans-Asian Railway.
Dr Mya Thaung of Bago Region constituency 7 approved the proposal by stating 22 countries have already signed the agreement and Myanmar will receive international trade and business development if it signs as well. He said other benefits include networking railways, receiving technical and financial assistance, and improving trade with landlocked countries.
The proposal was further debated by U Pe Chit of Yangon Region constituency 9, U Kyaw Tote of Mandalay Region constituency 7, U Sai Thant Zin of Hsipaw constituency, U Maung Maung Latt of Sagaing Region constituency 9, Tatmadaw Pyithu Hluttaw representative Lt-Col Kyaw Zin Win, and U Maung Maung Ohn of Ayeyawady Region constituency 5.
Union Minister U Thant Sin Maung motioned for the Hluttaw to accept the proposal as he sees that all the Hluttaw representatives support the decision to sign the agreement and send it to the UN Secretary-General. Speaker U T Khun Myat then gathered the deliberation of the Hluttaw, received no opposition, and announced the motion has been approved by the assembly.

Approving Dry Ports agreement
Next, U Sai Thant Zin of Hsipaw constituency and U Maung Maung Ohn of Ayeyawady Region constituency 5 debated the proposal sent by the President of Myanmar to sign the Intergovernmental Agreement on Dry Ports. Union Minister U Thant Sin Maung also explained the proposal. Speaker U T Khun Myat then gathered the deliberation of the Hluttaw, received no opposition, and announced the proposal has been approved by the assembly.

Debating ADB loan for Yangon water supply
Hluttaw representatives then debated a proposal from the President to acquire a loan of USD 180 million from ADB to fund the Yangon City Water Resilience Project. Tatmadaw Pyithu Hluttaw representative Major Win Min Tun suggested reviewing whether the project will be actually beneficial as the loan repayment will likely carry over to the next generation. It was further debated by Daw Shwe Shwe Sein Latt of Bago Region constituency 3, U Thein Tan of Hlegu constituency, Tatmadaw Amyotha Hluttaw representative Major Kyaw Min Tun, and U Aung Min of Zalun constituency. The fifth-day meeting of the Second Pyidaungsu Hluttaw’s 17th regular session will convene on 24 July. — Aung Ye Thwin, Aye Aye Thant (Translated by Zaw Htet Oo)

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