The fourth-day meeting of the seventh regular session of the second Pyidaungsu Hluttaw was held yesterday morning in Pyidaungsu Hluttaw meeting hall, Nay Pyi Taw.
At the meeting, Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Speaker Mahn Win Khaing Than announced that Hluttaw put on record the appointment of Myanaung Constituency (1) Ayeyawady Region Hluttaw Representative U Hla Moe Aung as Ayeyawady Region Chief Minister; the appointment of U Tha Oo as Deputy Minister for the Ministry of Transport and Communications, sent by the President; and the re-organisation and expansion of the village tract and village in the Ayeyawady Region.
Similarly, the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw speaker announced the approval of the Hluttaw for the appointment of retired managing director of Public Works Department U Han Zaw as union minister for construction, sent by the President. Next, the debt report for the 2016-2017 fiscal year (FY), sent by the government, was explained to the Hluttaw by Planning and Finance Deputy Minister U Set Aung.
The Pyidaungsu Hluttaw joint public account committee’s report 1/2018 on its findings and its remarks were also announced.
Commenting on the report, Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Joint Public Account Committee Joint Secretary U Khin Maung Than of Taungoo constituency said the combined local and foreign loans acquired by the government in the 2016-2017 FY amounted to Ks7.593 trillion, and according to an amendment to the 2016 union budget law, an excess loan of Ks2.593 trillion was made over the permitted loan amount of Ks5 trillion.
It is observed that on 31 March, 2017, the local and foreign debt to the gross domestic product ratio was 35.6 per cent, which was less than the 38.1 per cent recorded on 31 March, 2016. The loans received in the 2016-2017 FY were low-burden loans, and the net loan of Ks2.753914 trillion in the 2016-2017 FY is less than the net loan of Ks4.005208 trillion in the 2015-2016 fiscal year. This amount makes up 16.21 per cent of the estimated income in the union budget. Up to Ks4.8391 trillion of the principal amount of the government bonds was repaid in the 2016-2017 FY period, and this was Ks1.7631 trillion more than the loans repaid in the 2015-2016 FY period. Although the total local and foreign loans account for Ks7.593 trillion, the local loan repayment of up to Ks4.8391 trillion was made by reducing the net loan amount.
Loans from the Central Bank of Myanmar were earmarked at Ks1.236 trillion, and only 40 per cent of the loan was to be obtained; however, a loan amount of Ks2.3103 trillion was obtained, which is only 32 per cent of the loan, while more sales and auctions of government bonds were conducted. Regarding local and foreign loans, during the 2016-2017 FY period, the government was observed to have achieved its aim of retaining the debt burden level according to the mid-term debt management strategy, managed the fiscal deficit and observed the public debt status to keep the deficit level at a manageable level while developing the local market to a certain level by trading in government bonds.
Regarding the foreign and local loans during the 2016-2017 FY period, which amounted to Ks7.593 trillion, exceeding the permitted level, the Joint Public Account Committee need to follow the existing laws, financial rules and regulations.
The utilisation of foreign loans was lower than that in the 2015-2016 FY period, and of the earmarked US$918.573 million for the 2016-2017 FY, only $343.026 million, or 37.34 per cent, was used; so it must be utilised fully, said the deputy minister in his explanation to the Hluttaw.
Later, the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Speaker requested the Hluttaw representatives who wanted to discuss the government’s debt report for the 2016-2017 FY to enrol their names.
The decision of the Hluttaw on the account bill, sent back by the President with a remark, was then taken up by the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, section by section, and the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Speaker announced the confirmed amendments to be sent back to the President.
The matter of a loan from Austria’s Unicredit Bank, sent by the President, was then discussed by U Khin Cho of Hlaingbwe constituency, U Ba Shein of Kyaukpyu constituency, U Aung Thike of Seikphyu constituency, U Oo Tun Maung of Ponnagyun constituency, U Min Kyi of Thandwe constituency and U Kyaw Shwe Yanbye Constituency and Daw Yin Min Hlaing of Gangaw constituency.
Following this, the 2017 bill amending the Union Auditor General Law, sent back with a remark by the President, was discussed by the Hluttaw, section by section. U Bo Gyi of Chauk constituency, Tatmadaw Amyotha Hluttaw Representative Lt-Col Thant Swe and Daw Wint Wa Tun of Shadaw constituency discussed it section by section to help the Hluttaw make its decision.
The Pyidaungsu Hluttaw speaker then announced that the Hluttaw’s confirmations and amendment to the 2017 bill, amending the Union Auditor General Law, will be sent back to the President.
The fifth-day meeting of the seventh regular session of the second Pyidaungsu Hluttaw will be held on 24 January.
Myo Thu Hein (MNA)