Pyithu Hluttaw discusses investment opportunities, farmer loans

u win myint 2 copy
Speaker of Pyithu Hluttaw U Win Myint.  Photo: MNA

Daw Cho Cho of Ottwin constituency has submitted a motion urging the government to create investment opportunities for the development of labour intensive industries.
She made the request during the fourth-day meeting of the seventh regular session of the second Pyithu Hluttaw held yesterday.
While submitting her motion, Daw Cho Cho said Myanmar had the advantage of being a strategic country situated between two major global economic powers, and its natural resources and human resources, in terms of youth population, were an added strength for countries interested in investing in Myanmar.
Investments flowing into the least developed regions will help create job opportunities, raise the living standards, and reduce poverty and socio-economic disparity, besides ensuring sustainable development, she added.
For the regions to develop in tandem, good economic and investment environments must be created by setting up, supporting and implementing a trade and investment policy that is appropriate for ethnic nationals, systematically and effectively, noted Daw Cho Cho.
The motion was supported by U Tun Tun of Pwintbyu constituency and the Hluttaw decided to accept and debate the motion. An announcement was made requesting Hluttaw representatives to enrol their names for discussion before 4 pm on 23 January, 2018.
Next, Nay Pyi Taw Council member U Aung Myin Htun responded to a question raised by U Zaw Min Thein of Laymyethna constituency on a plan to collect town entry fees in more appropriate ways. He said that in coordination with the governments of the states, Rakhine and Kayah states were no longer collecting town entry fees. The Kachin State government is issuing an instruction to stop the collection of the town entry fee, while the Taninthayi region government will stop collecting it in the 2018-2019 fiscal year. The remaining states and regions have no plans to stop collecting it, stated U Aung Myin Htun.
Later, U Khin Cho of Hlaingbwe Township raised a question on the plan to adjust the daily training allowance fees to a rate that is in accordance with the current market prices, as government employees going for training courses away from their assigned duty station were being paid only Ks500 per day under the travelling allowance law.
Replying to question, Ministry of Finance and Planning Deputy Minister U Maung Maung Win said a daily allowance limit had been set at Ks1,700 per day from 2014, but the training allowance was still Ks500 per day. Currently, the daily allowance during the travel period is Ks3,000 per day. It has been observed that there is a need to adjust the allowance rates for government employees attending long-term training courses away from their duty station, and the rate should be the same for all departments, said the deputy minister.
The Ministry of Finance and Planning will first review the rates and will arrange to propose them to the government after obtaining comments from the concerned departments and organisations, said the deputy minister. Replying to a question raised by U Thein Tun of Kyaunggon constituency on the effectiveness of JICA two-step loans for small-scale farmers, Deputy Minister U Maung Maung Win said Myanma Agriculture Development Bank has been providing JICA two-step loans countrywide from the 2017-2018 fiscal year. Farmers who want to obtain these loans must apply to the township’s Myanma Agriculture Development Bank, and after an assessment by the bank is made in stages, those eligible will be provided the loans by the township branch banks.
Individual farmers who own up to 50 acres can apply for a maximum loan amount of Ks50 million, while farmers’ associations and groups can apply for a maximum loan amount of Ks500 million. This loan is not for farming expenses but to support the transition to mechanised farming and is not based on a per acre rate but rather on an assessment of whether the loan applicant is within the rules and criteria set for the loan, and an appropriate amount has been loaned, said the deputy minister.
The interest rate of 8 per cent is a fair rate, and this interest rate supports the country’s money circulation system, added the deputy minister.

JICA two step-loans were started in February 2017, and some 53 farmers from Nay Pyi Taw council and the four regions of Bago, Mandalay, Sagaing and Ayeyawady were provided with a total loan amount of Ks1,859.13 million, stated the deputy minister. The deputy minister concluded that the aims of JICA two-step loans were to transform traditional farming into mechanised farming, increase the production rate and provide financial support for balanced development in the rural and urban areas.
Questions raised by Dr. U Aung Khin of Pyin Oo Lwin constituency on opening a child day-care centre in Pyin Oo Lwin Town and by U Aung Kyaw Zan of Pauktaw constituency on plans to construct three cyclone shelters in Pauktaw Township were then answered by Union Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Dr. Win Myat Aye. Meanwhile, questions raised by U Sai Ngaung Hsiang Hein of Maukmai constituency on the plan for a waste disposal and collection system country-wide and by U Kyaw Min Hlaing of Ottarathiri constituency on the plan to prevent embankment erosion and inundation of farm lands near Taungnyo Creek, Nattaung Creek and Tagunding Creek were answered by Nay Pyi Taw Council member U Aung Myin Htun.
U Maung Maung Win also responded to questions raised by U Kan Myint of Thayet constituency on the plan to construct a new bank building for Thayet Disctrict bank, which is now operating out of an old and dangerous building, and by Daw Nan Moe of Mongton constituency on the plan to open a Myanma Economic Bank branch in Mongton Township. During the day’s meeting, a total of nine questions were raised and a motion related to foreign investment was submitted.

 

Myo Myint,
Hmwe Kyu Zin

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