The Second Pyithu Hluttaw’s tenth regular session met for the second day at the Pyithu Hluttaw’s meeting hall yesterday. During the session, asterisk-marked questions were answered, a motion was tabled, a Bill was approved and a motion on the Bill was tabled.
U Khin Cho of Hlaingbwe constituency, U Pe Than of Myebon constituency, U Aung Kyaw Kyaw Oo of Hline constituency, Daw Khin San Hlaing of Pale constituency, U Ar Moe Si of Khaunglanphu constituency, U Kan Myint of Thayet constituency, and Dr. U Soe Moe Thu of Myaungmya constituency raised asterisk-marked questions at the meeting. They were answered by Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) member and Deputy Minister for Planning and Finance U Set Aung and Deputy Minister for Construction U Kyaw Lin.
U Khin Cho of Hlaingbwe constituency asked the government to clarify permitted foreign investments as of 31 March 2016, the increase in foreign investments in terms of sectors, number of investments, and amounts invested (in US dollars) between 1 April 2016 and 31 March 2018. He asked if there were any instances where companies or projects were suspended or terminated for breaking laws, failing to follow agreements, and tax avoidance. He also asked about arrangements made to create opportunities for increasing investment in the agriculture and animal breeding sector.
To these queries, Deputy Minister U Set Aung replied that from 1988 to 31 March 2016 a total of 1,100 foreign investments were permitted and the total investments stood at US$ 63.72 billion.
During the two-year period from 2016 to 2018, with the exception of the oil and gas sector and the construction sector, a total of 360 investments worth $ 12.37 billion were made in the ten sectors, including agriculture, animal breeding and fishery, industries, hotel, and travel sectors, the deputy minister said.
The total foreign investment permitted by the incumbent government during the two-year period is 16.25 per cent of the total foreign fund inflows in the country in the 30-year period from 1988 to March 2018, so progress can be seen in the investment sector, he added. There were no instances of any action taken against any company or project involving foreign investors permitted by the MIC for not following the laws, agreements, or for tax evasion, the deputy minister said.
The agriculture and animal breeding sector, together with forest development and other forest works, aqua products production and aqua culture or aqua farming, have been designated as promoted sectors, and those investing in these sectors can apply for a tax exemption of 3 to 7 years, depending on the region where the investment is made, the deputy minister said.
The MIC has also announced that the commission, along with state and region governments, will provide necessary support and assistance to any foreign investors proposing to invest in agri-based value-adding production works, animal breeding, aqua products production, and aquaculture, the Deputy Minister said.
Daw Khin San Hlaing of Pale constituency asked a question about the arrangements made by Myanmar to obtain benefits under the Eco Green City project, which is to be implemented in a joint venture with a private company, and asked the government to show how the project would benefit the country and people.
The Deputy Minister for Construction said the Eco Green City project supports the economic development of Myanmar and supports inflows of foreign investment as it is situated on the Yangon-Mandalay highway, which is connected to central Myanmar and stands at the junction of the Yangon-Bago-Ayeyawady regions. Also, the Yangon outer ring road passes through it, and it is connected to the Korea-Myanmar Industrial Complex project and the Hlegu-Hmawby area development, he added.
During the project’s implementation phase, 50,000 temporary job opportunities will be created, and once the project starts, it will create 15,000 permanent job opportunities, the deputy minister said.
“The details of the project have been put up on the Ministry of Construction’s website. Its benefits were explained to the media at the project briefing hall on 23 January 2018,” he added.
The project was announced on Myanmar Radio and Television, and published in newspapers and journals, he said. Information on the project will be given to the people in a transparent manner, the Deputy Minister said.
The minister also answered questions raised by other Hluttaw representatives.
Motion to systematically develop urban (town) and rural (village) land project for human settlement
A motion urging the government to review and develop pasture land, vacant land, fallow land, and virgin land, and to implement town and village land projects to resolve the problem of lack of living spaces caused by the increasing population was tabled by Daw Mar Mar Khine of Thaton constituency.
She said that an increasing population has put a strain on the availability of living spaces, resulting in the rise of illegal squatting, which is a major challenge to the incumbent government. In the past, when the need for pasture land was felt, the government established such lands and this needs to be replicated to settle those who don’t have a place to live, she added.
Pyithu Hluttaw Speaker U T Khun Myat announced the Hluttaw’s decision to debate the motion after obtaining the decision of the Hluttaw. He asked Hluttaw representatives who want to discuss the motion to register their names.
Decision and motion on Theravada Buddhist Missionary University Bill
Later, the Pyithu Hluttaw Speaker announced the Hluttaw’s approval of the Theravada Buddhist Missionary University Bill, returned with amendments by the Amyotha Hluttaw.
This was followed by Bill committee member U Nay Myo Tun tabling a motion to submit and discuss the Bill at Pyidaungsu Hluttaw as two Hluttaws were in disagreement over the Bill, as approval was on amendment of the Bill committee and not the ten amendments of the Amyotha Hluttaw.
Pyithu Hluttaw Speaker then announced that the disagreement on the Bill will be submitted to the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw for discussion and decision. The third-day meeting of the Second Pyithu Hluttaw’s tenth regular session will be held today.
By Aye Aye Thant (MNA)
(Translated by Zaw Min)