MPs call for review of budget for dam project, ineffective irrigation expenses
The 16th-day meeting of the Second Pyidaungsu Hluttaw’s ninth regular session was held at the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw meeting hall yesterday morning. At the meeting, two reports were read and Hluttaw representatives discussed the basic principles, project works and budgets of the National Planning Bill and Union Budget Bill.
Reading of reports
At first, Joint Bill Committee member U Nay Myo Tun read the committee’s findings and comments report on bill amending the Vacant, Fallow and Virgin Land Management Law, sent back by the President with comments.
An announcement was made for Hluttaw representatives who wanted to discuss the report to register their names.
Next, on behalf of the Union government, Deputy Minister for Planning and Finance U Maung Maung Win reported to the Hluttaw the draft bill amending the Public Debt Management Law sent by the Union government.
The Deputy Minister said the law was enacted in 2016 and the Union government has also designated the fiscal year to be changed from 1 April-31 March to 1 October-30 September. This change will be implemented in fiscal year 2018-2019, he added. Due to this change in fiscal year, some wordings in the law had to be changed, reported the Deputy Minister.
An announcement was then made for Hluttaw representatives who wanted to discuss the report to enroll their names.
Hluttaw representatives discuss National Planning Bill and Union Budget Bill
Afterwards, Hluttaw representatives discussed the basic principles, project works and budgets of National Planning Bill and Union Budget Bill.
In her discussion, Daw Yin Min Hlaing of Gangaw constituency said Myittha (Multipurpose) Dam Project was started in 2002, with an estimated cost of Ks 55.182 billion. It was increased to Ks 122.851 billion in 2009-2010 and was increased again to Ks 271.255 billion. It was increased yet again to Ks 304 billion in 2017-2018. The doubling of the cost from 2002 to 2009 was at least acceptable as 7 years had passed, but doubling again in 2012 and 2017 is grossly unacceptable. In 2016-2017, the remaining 23 billion was also permitted.
The 2016-2017 estimate of Ks 271.2 billion includes more than Ks 2,920 million (nearly 3 billion) of unforeseeable expenses, and as this amount could be used to construct a river crossing bridge it should be reviewed, said Daw Yin Min Hlaing.
U Tin Tun Naing of Seikkyi-Khanaungto constituency discussed about more than 50 per cent of Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation budget being allocated to the Irrigation Department for construction of new dams and irrigation infrastructure. The expenditures are costly but ineffective expenses, as mentioned in the World Bank report, and the ministry ought to review this, said U Tin Tun Naing.
Daw Cho Cho of Ottwin constituency commented about state-owned sector and private sector being respectively allocated more than 25 per cent and 74.57 per cent of the investment for fiscal year 2018-2019. She discussed about the requirement to establish detailed financial, monetary, foreign exchange, trade and investment policies to ensure private sector investment of 74.57 per cent as planned.
She also discussed about the reported plan in agriculture sector to reduce the cultivated area by 818,484 acres (1.6 percent of total cultivated area), compared to fiscal year 2017-2018, but no indication of which crops are being reduced and the reason for the reduction.
Similarly Dr. Than Aung Soe of Minhla constituency, Daw Khin San Hlaing of Pale constituency, U Yan Lin of Kyaiklat constituency, U Sai Thant Zin of Hsipaw constituency, U Soe Aung Naing of Kyonpyaw constituency, Dr. Pyae Phyo of Ayeyawady Region constituency 7, U Myint Han Tun of Budalin constituency, U Sai Oo Khem of Hsenwi constituency, U Myo Win of Mon State constituency 8, U Zaw Min Thein of Laymyethna constituency, Dr. Maung Maung of Yangon Region constituency 6, U Tha Aung of Myothit constituency, U Aung Kyaw Kyaw Oo of Hline constituency, Dr. Aung Khin of Pyin Oo Lwin constituency, U Sai Tun Sein of Mongpyin constituency, U Kyaw Ni Naing of Shan State constituency 11, U Khin Maung Thi of Loilem constituency, U Shwe Ko of Kyaukpadaung constituency, U Than Soe of Yangon Region constituency 4 and U Kyaw Myo Min of Monyo constituency also discussed the bills.
The 17th-day meeting of the ninth regular session of the Second Pyidaungsu Hluttaw is scheduled to be held today. — Myo Myint, Han Lin Naing (MNA)