Stakeholders gather to provide suggestions on 2015-2016 Union Budget

Stakeholders take part in a pre-budget consultation workshop in  Yangon on Friday.
Stakeholders take part in a pre-budget consultation workshop in Yangon on Friday.

Lawmakers, economists, civic groups and other stakeholders gathered Friday in Yangon to share ideas for the 2015-2016 budget, which is soon to be discussed in parliament.
At the pre-budget consultation workshop, panellist U Zaw Pe Win called for a balanced budget, pointing out that the country has had a persistent deficit totalling more than K7,200 billion for the three previous fiscal years.
In his presentation of points to be considered before drafting and approving the Union budget, U Zaw Pe Win, who is also the principal of the Human Development Institute, stressed the need for raising revenues and reducing spending to mitigate the persistent deficit in the budget.
Another panellist, Myanmar Fishery Federation vice chairman U Hnin Oo, said, “It is impossible to increase spending without improving the national economy through increased productivity”, suggesting import substitution and export promotion of the country’s productive sectors as remedies for the balance of trade deficit.
The MFF vice-chair highlighted the importance of effective resource management to increase earnings. He compared earnings from marine products between Vietnam and Myanmar, with the former gaining $9 billion from the sector while the latter received only $400 million, despite having a similar amount of coastline.
If the country earned $4 billion from this sector this year, the trade deficit of nearly $3 billion could be covered, thereby contributing towards more spending on the education and health sectors, he added.
In his discussion, U Than Lwin, former vice governor of Myanmar’s central bank, suggested creating a medium-term budget process for the projects that cannot be completed before the end of the budget year to carry on the next two or three years, to avoid spending on unwanted matters. He also called for a system of checks and balances in the monetary process.
During the discussion session, those from CSOs and the media called for disseminating simplified budget information for better understanding among the people, and for increasing accountability through budget transparency.
Since 2012-2013, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (RUMFCCI) and Action Aid Myanmar has been organizing the workshop as part of budget advocacy and transparency in order to engage CSOs, government officials, parliamentarians and other stakeholders on budget issues. The third workshop is aimed at continuing the same approach to ensure budget transparency and public awareness on the budget process.

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