The Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement; Ministry of Planning and Finance; Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation; and the Ministry of Health and Sports held a joint press conference to discuss the performance of the four ministries’ second year in office at the Ministry of Information yesterday afternoon.
At the press conference, Union Minister Dr. Win Myat Aye explained the second-year performance of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement.
Laws and rules were drawn up on the matter of setting up new policies. A youth policy was enacted on 5 January 2018, enabling the youth to participate in the education, economic, politics, peace, gender and human rights affairs. A national-level elderly policy was prepared, while a new Child Law was amended, drafted and submitted to the Hluttaw. A new law amending the Suppression of Prostitution Act was prepared and the Prevention and Protection of Violence against Women Bill was also drawn up and submitted for approval.
The rules for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Law and the Elders Law were also prepared.
Further, a Legal Advisory Unit was formed to ensure the laws are fair when the policies and rules are implemented.
A Department of Rehabilitation was formed on 30 January 2018 to rehabilitate handicapped persons, victims of human trafficking, former drug addicts, orphaned and abandoned children, child soldiers, street children, and victims of statutory rape, domestic violence and the aged. On the matter of rehabilitating displaced persons, the views of the regional authorities and civil society organisations were obtained and the future works, processes, long-term plans and work processes were set up.
In Chin State, Rakhine State and the Naga Self-Administered Zone where nutrition levels are low, a mother is given Ks15,000 per month. A social pension of Ks10,000 per month is also given to those above 90 years of age. For a Case Management System to become firmly established, social case managers were trained and employed in 10 more townships, expanding from 27 townships to 37 townships.
One Stop Women Support Centres (OSWSC) were also being established.
Support and assistance were also raised by the Department of Social Welfare to 979 self-help pre-schools, 244 welfare homes and 82 homes for the aged.
As for the Disaster Management Department, an earthquake forum, a rehearsal for earthquake preparedness and talks were held in cooperation with the Ministry of Education. To mitigate and reduce losses and damages from strong winds, talks on technical support against damaging winds and reinforcing houses were held in 129 wards/villages in 18 townships of Mandalay, Sagaing, Magway regions and Shan State during the 2016-2017 fiscal year. In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, talks were held in the Ayeyawady and Bago regions, in addition to the four initial regions and state.
After cyclone Nargis in 2008, a total of 93 cyclone shelters were built by the 2015-2016 fiscal year. During the incumbent government, 10 were completed and 16 were still under construction. Some 87 more shelters will be constructed, explained the Union Minister.
Planning and Finance Ministry second year review
Deputy Minister for Planning and Finance U Maung Maung Win spoke about the second year performance of the ministry, which include 20 departments and entities.
The Planning Department has drawn up a six-month National Planning Law for April to September of the 2018 Fiscal Year. He said the department has also drawn up the Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan (MSDP).
The Directorate of Investment Company Administration, in accord with the New Myanmar Investment Law, has relegated authority of investment administration to state and region directorates. These state and regional investment committees can loan a principal of US$5 million or Ks6 billion to businesses.
Company registration fees have also been reduced from an initial Ks1 million to Ks500,000 in June 2016 and further reduced to Ks250,000 on 1 April 2018. Since then, the number of companies has increased from 6,728 domestic companies and 1,172 foreign companies in Fiscal Year 2015-2016 to 9,147 domestic companies and 1,322 foreign companies by Fiscal Year 2016-2017. By 19 March 2018, foreign investments reached US$5.31 billion and domestic investments reached Ks3.63 trillion and created 106,274 jobs.
The Progress Appraisal and Progress Reporting Department conducted field surveys on 4,016 businesses and projects in 25 districts in the country. They also transitioned from a closed tender system to an open tender system for state-owned businesses and infrastructure related works.
The Central Statistical Organization passed the Statistics Law in January 2018.
The Foreign Economic Relations Department has formed the Development Assistance Coordination Unit (DACU) and released the Development Assistance Policy in January 2018 to more effectively manage foreign development assistance.
Myanmar Economic Bank has acquired an Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to offer two-step loans to SMEs. There is also the Bank’s Owned Fund programme that grants loans for developing SMEs. The Bank also offers three-year to five-year loans to farmers and three-year loans to real estate projects.
Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank has paid income taxes of Ks7.791 billion and deposited Ks7.96 billion to the State.
Myanmar Investment and Commercial Bank has paid income taxes of Ks9.12 billion and deposited Ks8.99 billion to the State in Fiscal Year 2017-2018.
Myanmar Agriculture Development Bank has granted farmers a loan of Ks100,000 per acre in Fiscal Year 2015-2016. In Fiscal Year 2016-2017, the Bank has increased loans for other crops to farmers at Ks20,000 to Ks50,000 per acre. The Bank has given out Ks1.63 trillion in loans in Fiscal Year 2016-2017 and Ks1.70 trillion in Fiscal Year 2017-2018. The total amount of loans granted is Ks3.34 trillion.
Myanmar Insurance began offering life insurance to farmers in October 2017 in collaboration with Myanmar Agriculture Development Bank. As of April 2018, Myanmar Insurance has 41,407 registered clients, generated Ks58.79 million, and so far has reimbursed Ks22.36 million to 40 farmers. Myanmar Insurance generated an income of Ks56 billion in Fiscal Year 2016-2017 and Ks61 billion in Fiscal year 2017-2018, an increase of Ks5 billion to the national income.
The Internal Revenue Department implemented the online tax payment system with private banks in January 2018.
The Customs Department adopted an automated cargo clearance system on 12 November 2016, which cut time and costs for all stakeholders.
The Budget Department has made its work available to the public on the ministry’s website to promote transparency. The public can view the three-month expenditure report, in year report, budget proposals, the Union Budget Law, half-year reports and other related documents on the ministry’s website.
The Treasury Department drew the monthly financial schemes for Fiscal Year 2016-2017 for Union Level Executive Organizations and Union Ministries. The Department reviews the differences between actual expenditures and projected expenditures based on the financial schemes over three-month periods to compile monthly surplus money and deficits. The Department has compiled these reports for the Fiscal Years 2015-2016 and 2016-2017.
The Financial Regulatory Department approved registration of 176 microfinance organisations to help develop the livelihoods of people living in rural areas. In Fiscal Year 2016-2017, loans of Ks2.48 trillion were granted and Ks4.13 trillion worth of loans were granted in Fiscal Year 2017-2018.
The Pension Department has arranged for retired civil servants to receive their pension and bonus money within one month.
The Revenue Appellate Tribunal, between 1 April 2016 and 31 December 2017, has received 199 customs appeals, 35 customs review appeals, and one stamp alteration case; a total of 235 cases. The Tribunal has handled 180 customs appeals and 23 customs review appeals; a total of 203 cases.
The Office of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Myanmar gave approvals for First Myanmar Investment Co. Ltd., Myanmar Thilawa SEZ Holdings Public Ltd., Myanmar Citizens Bank Ltd., First Private Bank Ltd., and TMH Telecom Public Co. Ltd. to register on the Yangon Stock Exchange company listing.
Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation
U Khin Maung Yi, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation, said his ministry has banned logging in Bago Mountain Range starting in the 2017-2018 Fiscal Year for a period of 10 years and reduced the Annual Allowable Cut (AAC).
In a press conference yesterday on the second year performance of the ministry, U Khin Maung Yi said that in the current 2017-2018 FY, the ministry produced only 55 per cent of the teak and 31 per cent of the hardwood compared to the output of the previous year.
As part of efforts for conserving the elephants that are usually used for logging, the ministry has expanded the establishment of elephant-based ecotourism resorts since 2016-2017 Fiscal Year. Soo far, 18 camps have been established.
The ministry also adopted the Myanmar Elephant Conservation Action Plan (MECAP) 2018-2027.
In the second one-year period, the ministry confiscated 42,893.4316 tons of teak and hardwood and arrested 6,591 persons, including 19 foreigners. As part of efforts for greening the arid region, more than 3,888 acres of cultivation and 37,000 acres were designated as forest reserve.
U Khin Latt Gyi, Director-General of the Mining Department, has suspended granting permits for new mining blocks since 1 March, 2016, and also granted extensions of permits for mining blocks which expired on 1 April, 2016.
In accordance with the new by-law of the Myanmar Mines Law enacted on 13 February, 2018, small- and medium-sized mining businesses are allowed in regions and states.
Regarding the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), the ministry formed the leading committee for EITI with four members led by the Union Minister for Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation. There is also a tripartite group for EITI comprised of the leading committee, companies and civil societies.
The ministry set its target of earning at least more than Ks540 billion from mining, gems and the pearl sector in the 2017-2018 Fiscal Year, and achieved its target with earnings of more than Ks740 billion.
Ministry of Health and Sports
Afterwards, Ministry of Health and Sports permanent secretary Prof. Dr. Thet Khaing Win explained the work done on raising health knowledge among the public, and how to reduce expenses incurred by the public on health care.
A nationwide immunization campaign against 11 childhood diseases was conducted. There are about 8.7 million students all over the country, and health inspection in schools was conducted in 97 per cent of the schools nationwide. Deworming of students was conducted twice in basic education schools and, as this is beneficial for health, it will be conducted as priority work.
Malaria is targeted to be eliminated in Myanmar by 2030. Annual campaigns against elephantiasis are also conducted, and 4,888 new leprosy patients were being treated. Across the country, 222,730 patients were given cataract operations, Seven public hospitals in Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw provided free anti-viral medicines to 2,000 patients, while 1,671 patients were treated up to 31 December 2017.
To identify severe and highly infectious diseases, two multi-million dollar laboratories were opened in Taunggyi and Insein.
National Strategic Plan (2017-2021) for non-infectious diseases and Myanmar National Cancer Control Strategic Plan (2017-2021) were drawn and the Population Based Cancer Registry was also started in Nay Pyi Taw.
Open-heart surgery was performed on 1,287 patients in Yangon People’s Hospital, Mandalay People’s Hospital, North Okkalapa Hospital and Yankin Children Hospital and the success rate was more than 95 per cent. Cardiac Cath Labs were opened in Yangon People’s Hospital, Mandalay People’s Hospital and North Okkalapa Hospital, where a total of 8,162 patients were treated. An additional 18 rural health clinics and 22 sub-rural health centres were opened and 1,796 Community Health Clinics were opened, where various health care services were provided.
A total of 241 traditional health hospital and clinics were opened, where 1,512,300 out-patients and 29,868 in-patients were treated.
International-standard laboratories were opened and these labs were accredited with the ISO 17025 Certificate by US-based ANAB (ANSI-ASO National Accreditation Board).
Twenty-four district FDA offices are under construction, and all will have modern laboratories to test food and medicines.
Sports sector development was increased within the available budget, while development of the health sector is being done. Six-hundred and seventy-five sets of Outdoor Fitness Equipment were installed in locations where the public can conduct physical exercise. Sports and Physical Education Institute Loikaw and Monywa were opened, making for a total of six Sports and Physical Education Institute, where more sports personnel will be produced.
For the first time in Myanmar, there were 70 students who graduated from the B.Sc (Sports) course and, at the moment, a total of 207 students were attending this course in Dagon and Yatanabon University, explained the permanent secretary.
Han Hmwe, Lin Naing (MNA)