Raising Public Awareness on Ease of Doing Business Index – Deputy Minister for Commerce U Aung Htoo

Dialogue titled “Nation Building through Ease of Doing Business”

KM 5.11 72(Continued from yesterday)

Myanma Radio and Television presents the dialogue under the title “Nation Building through Ease of Doing Business” in which Deputy Minister for Commerce U Aung Htoo, Yangon Electricity Supply Coporation General Manager U Tin Aung, Yangon City Development Committee Secretary Daw Hlaing Maw Oo and Executive U Zeya Thura Mon of Myanmar Chambers of Commerce and Industry are participating in the talk show.

Facilitator: Well! His Excellency Deputy Minister, please explain what measures have been taken to improve the indicators.
Deputy Minister: Speaking quite frankly, we did not know much about the indicators at the outset. Later, we pursued the subject in depth. When calculating the index, questions were raised once in a year to government departments. They are to give the answers between February and May. In May, we have to combine all data and calculate on it. At that time we ask questions to both government and private sectors. In doing so, the questions are also asked to law firms and accounting firms which are working together with the private sector.
For these questions, some gave flippant answers. For example, the questions want yes or no. If yes, more questions will follow as a consequence and if they answer we have no idea, it is very easy for them. But in reality that does not work.
Another matter is that when employees of companies are trying to get license or permit, they approach agents who act on their behalf. In the process, they do not record the actual cost. For example, a company sets the expenditure for getting a license as 200 USD and it gives its agents 200 USD. It does not know on which items the agent has spent the money. In reality, the expenditure is less than 200 USD.
Next, the duration. Some said they got the permit within one day that means they submitted the application today and the next day they got it. We, on our part, said it took 24 hours to get the permit. But on their part, they said the submission date is one day and the approval date is the other. Therefore, it took two days to get a permit. It seems the duration for getting permit takes too long. Procedure is another matter. Some procedures have been abolished, but it is active as the accounts are going as usual.
So, in cooperation with UMFCCI, we studied case by case what we can do on that matter. We made sure that the private sector was able to answer these questions and so do in the government sector.
We found out that some facts have not been counted as said by U Zeya Thura Mon. In accord with the guidance given by the vice-president, there is ten support groups. These groups have been reformed with the directors-general and managing directors who can really carry out the job with full power. They are appointed as secretaries of the groups. The leaders of the group have put their focuses on it. Moreover, two experts – a foreign and a local – from World Bank contribute to this work. Meetings have been held once every two weeks to improve the indicators. At the meetings future plans have been laid down and implemented. We also found out that giving awareness on Ease of Doing Business Index is too weak in both in the private and government sectors. So we decided to include information sector into the process and made known to the public. This dialogue is one of its kinds.
We are now preparing Ease of Doing Business Website. The ten groups have developed Standard Operating Procedure such as what steps are to be taken to get construction permit.
Before the said website cannot be in operation, the procedures are uploaded to Commerce Website. This is aimed at enabling people to browse it and to know the procedures clearly. SOP is very much complicated. We are trying to ease it. After that, it will be uploaded in Ease of Doing Business Website and websites of the relevant ministries. This will help people understand what they need to do.

Facilitator: Again, Daw Hlaing Maw Oo, please explain what the committee is implementing concerning Dealing with Construction Permit.
Daw Hlaing Maw Oo: Just now, His Excellency Deputy Minister and U Zeya Thura Mon have talked about it and there was a discussion from the point of view of electricity indicator. There is four parts for scoring in Dealing with Construction Permit. From the step of submitting a construction permit to project completion, there is an index for the whole procedure. There also has norms to measure duration and cost. Quality Control Index such as how much experts are involving in the procedures.
We have been ranked 73 out of 66 in Dealing with Construction Permit indicator. It is due to misunderstanding of questions raised by the other side. We’ve found out that they replied to the queries without knowledge. Therefore, we have to take remedial action to make the World Bank known the real situation.
We have fixed the difficult procedures and proposal made by IFC. The outsiders do not know what we are doing our best. So there is a gap. So to fill the gap we are now trying to open the communication lines. In doing so, we upload SOP data in addition to application forms and some data. Data on EC meeting are also uploaded. The recommendation of IFC can also be browsed in the website. The works done such as the number of application and the amount of receiving permit. Measures taken by experts are also uploaded.
(Translated by Wallace)

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