By Khin Yadanar;
Photo May Oo Moe
MoPFI is shouldering tasks for sustainable competitive advantage for the nation and the people.
Functioning in motley assortments of national tasks, the Ministry of Planning, Finance and Industry (MoPFI) has combined (24) departments/organizations/enterprises under its umbrella, and working in top gear for the country and the people.
In accordance with the instructions of the Project Bank, the Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan (MSDP) is moving ahead beginning 2019 – 2020 financial years. The fourth-year performances of the MoPFI are submitted to the esteemed readers and the people reflecting the progress through the different interviews with the Union Minister and the Deputy Ministers.
U Soe Win (Union Minister)
Q: Please share us on the tasks in the interest of the people.
A: In serving the interest of the people, the MoPFI has established the “PPP Centre”, and moreover it successfully launched a web portal on “Project Bank Website” on 26 February 2020 in collaboration with the GIZ.
Loans are being provided to MSMEs with the funds taken as loans from Japan.
With the assistance from the German Development Bank (KfW), loans are being offered to SMSEs. The KfW, formerly KfW Bankengruppe (banking group), is a German state-owned development bank, based in Frankfurt. Moreover, the funds from the saving of the people amounting MMK (1,061) have been disbursed as loans to MSMEs segment.
Loans for agricultural machinery
Taking funds amounting MMK (200) billion from JICA for “Two Step Loan”, the Myanma Agriculture Development Bank has loan out cash to farmers.
With a view to prevent and salvage the loss and failure incurred from the bank loans, the “Credit Guarantee Corporation” (CGC) is on the agenda with the loans from ADB amounting US$ (60) millions.
Q: Tell us on the performances of the Myanma Agricultural Development Bank.
A: The Myanma Agriculture Development Bank has intended to increase the agricultural cultivation loans amounting MMK (1,747) in 2019 – 2020. Paddy cultivation loans have been raised from MMK (100,000) to MMK (150,000).
Q: Kindly share us on the insurance development tasks.
A: Earlier, (11) local life insurance companies and (8) local general insurance companies were undertaking the tasks of insurance matters. Now, foreign life insurance companies, local and foreign joint life insurance companies, and general insurance companies are being awarded with work licences.
Pilot project on crop insurance scheme is ongoing in Pyay and Shwebo.
Q: Please tell us socio-economic development task of the rural people.
A: With a view to reduce the rural poverty, the “Financial Inclusion Roadmap” (2014 – 2020) has been implemented. It is on the agenda to implement the “Financial Inclusion Roadmap” (2019 – 2023). A total of (193) micro finance groups have been permitted to functions, covering (25,195) villages with over (4 point 5) million population.
Q: Tell us on the retirement funds for the employees.
A: With regard to the retirement funds, the “Central Provident Fund” (CPF) scheme is in the pipeline. The bill on central provident funds is in the process, which will be applied to newly recruited employees as well as the old employees. The government employees with (10) years service would be entitled with the existing pension rules.
Q: Tell us on the tax reforms.
A: In the reform process with regards to the revenue and tax, more internal revenue offices have been expanded with easier method of tax collection. The “MPU Debit Card” system with online application is in use at Thilawa Special Economic Zone as first step. “CBM –Net” system is being applied as the second step. Moreover, the “Tax Administration Law” (TAL) has been enacted. TAL aims to provide a proper guide and simplification of the administrative procedures in relation to tax matters for all the taxpayers in Myanmar.
New Income Tax Law
Plans are underway to apply “Integrated Tax Administration System’ (ITAS), and that the new income tax law is in process drafted in line with the international norm. “Myanmar Automated Cargo Clearance System” (MACCS) has been applied in Yangon since 2016; in Myawady since 2018; and in Muse beginning 2020.
Q: Tell us on the Certificate of Origin.
A: A Certificate of Origin is a document widely used in international trade transactions which attests that the product listed therein has met certain criteria to be considered as originating in a particular country. Shifting to “e- Form D” has started in December 2019, and linked up functioning with the “ASEAN Single Window Operation” successfully. It helps international trade and assists in foreign investment.
Q: Tell us on industrial development.
A: Tasks with regard to industrial development includes that of crafting strategy, that of drafting laws and by-laws, and that of prevention on chemical hazards.
Policies and guidelines have been formulated in the vehicle industry; in the textile industry; the electricity and electronic industry.
Q: Tell us on the sustainable development in industry segment.
A: As the private sector is the main drive for the economic development, the “Central Transformation Unit” (CTU) is being formed and the study is in process. Skillful workers have been nurtured at (6) industrial institutes, and that mobile training courses are provided to the needs of the states / regions.
The essential drugs are being produced in line with national drug laws with WHO GMP guideline for efficacy and safety and quality to the customer’s satisfaction. Good manufacturing practice (GMP) is a system for ensuring that products are consistently produced and controlled according to quality standards.
(From Left to Right) Deputy Ministers of the Ministry of Planning, Finance and Industry: U Maung Maung Win, U Sett Aung and Dr.Min Ye Paing Hein.
U Maung Maung Win (Deputy Minister)
Q: Kindly share us on the performances of the state banks.
A: Out of (24) organizations in the MoPFI, a total of (13) bodies are working for financial sector. There are state banks namely the “Myanma Economic Bank”; the “Myanma Foreign Trade Bank”; the “Myanma Investment and Commercial Bank”; and the “Myanma Agricultural Development Bank”. During 2019, soft loans with low interest are being provided to MSMEs in “Two Step Loans” with the assistance of Japan.
Loans from Myanma Economic Bank
Myanma Economic Bank is providing loans to MSMEs on “Two Step Loan” with (8) per cent interest, while the funds from the public savings have been utilized as loans at (9) per cent interest.
Moreover, the loans from Japan have been used as inputs in the agricultural sector. In the meanwhile, the Myanma Economic Bank is instrumental in lending loans with low interest.
Q: Please share us on the insurance development sector.
A: New scheme on the farmers’ life insurance has been realized, and that the foreign insurance companies are permitted to do business in the country. The “Financial Regulatory Department” is handling the insurance tasks.
Q: Kindly share on the micro finance matters.
A: The “Financial Regulatory Department” is supervising the “Micro Finance” schemes, and that (193) organizations have been formed in states / regions covering over (4) millions people.
Q: Kindly share us on fiscal policy of the country.
A: Fiscal policies are being formulated by many departments such as that of the Budget Department; that of the Treasury Department; that of the Internal Revenue Department; and that of the Customs Department. These departments manage the receipts and the expenditures of the country. The Public Financial Management (PFM) Academy is successfully opened in February 2020.
Q: Kindly share us on the transformation of “Self-Assessment System”.
A: The “Internal Revenue Department” is implementing to shift from the existing “Official Assessment System” to “Self-Assessment System”. Currently, we have one “Large Taxpayer Office” (LTO) and (5) “Medium Taxpayer Office” (MTO). The “Self-Assessment System” would be implemented with the ICT approach.
Q: Tell us on the Customs clearance.
A: We have successfully installed “Myanmar Automated Cargo Clearance System” (MACCS) in 2016 – 2017 in Yangon. The system has been installed at Myanmar -Thailand border in Myawady, and that there is a plan to install in Myanmar – China border at Muse in 2019 – 2020.
Q: Tell us matters on tax appeal.
A: On 7 June 2019, Myanmar Union Parliament enacted the Tax Administration Law (Law No. 20), including a number of reform measures. Along with the emergence of the Tax Appeal Law, the Revenue Appellate Tribunal would serve for the interest of the people.
Q: Tell us on the response for the economy that was affected by the COVID – 19 pandemic.
A: In response to COVID – 19 pandemic, the State has consolidated MMK (50) billions from the Union Funds, and MMK (50) billions from the social security funds. The total MMK (100) billions has been placed to spread out as recovery loans to CMP sector, the hotels and tourism industry, and the MSMEs with (1) percent interest for one year.
Other tax relieves have been allowed to mitigate the negative impacts. Moreover, in quest of foreign aids and assistances, negotiations are going on with the World Bank, the ADB, and the IMF.
U Sett Aung (Deputy Minister)
Q: Please share on the national planning mechanism.
A: The “National Planning” mechanism has many linkages with plenty of departments and bodies such as that of the Budget Department; that of the Treasury Department; that of the Industrial Development Bodies; that of the Directorate Industrial Collaboration; that of the finance, the industrial, and the agriculture, and so on. It covers MSMEs in the context of the Economic Development, the Economic Stability, the Fiscal Policy, and the Monetary Policy are all hooked up and looped in through the Myanmar Central Bank.
Q: Tell us on the endeavours of the National Planning for raising income of the State.
A: With high hope for the successful implementation of the Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan (MSDP), the “National Planning” is being formulated. Drafting of a national strategy includes the economic development, the social development, the environmental development, and the peace of the nation.
The planning and the budget must hook up to get a strong swing, and that the planning direction must always in line with the strategic direction without deviation to Ad-hoc Solution. The strategic projects are to be implemented in line with the Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan (MSDP).
Q: Kindly explain on Project Data Bank.
A: We have launched “Project Data Bank” website and that could be termed as successful achievement. All the “Strategic Projects” have been featured in “One Stop Information Centre” Web Portal. We presented in transparency over the “Government Procurement System”, reflecting transparent and predictable environment.
Q: Kindly explain on the norms and standards with regard to state projects.
A: There are two crucial factors in the Policy Direction for the implementation of MSDP. Are we to implement through Public Investment (Government Budget) or through the Development Assistant. In other words, are we to team up with Private Sector in Private Public Partnership format?
For instance, “Commercially Viable” projects are to be streamlined with the private sector, and on the other hand, the projects that are not “Commercially Viable” are to roll on through Development Assistance. The national planning needs project analysis.
Monitoring and evaluation tasks are needed at the ministries in checking the national strategic direction by linking up the budget spending. This is to identify the weak and strong status over the realizations of the strategic projects by various ministries in the backdrops of MSDP implementation.
Dr. Min Ye Paing Hein (Deputy Minister)
Q: Kindly share on the transformation of government owned factories and mills.
A: Transformation tasks are rolling ahead with the aim to put the state owned factories and mills into market oriented economy. The Union Minister chairs the “Central Transformation Unit” (CTU). Evaluation and analysis is underway. Integrating with the private sector is on the agenda.
Q: Please explain over the strategic plan for the development of the entire industrial sector.
A: The strategic programme of Myanmar Industrial sector was drafted in 2017 with the assistance of the UNIDO. The program has been hooked up with the Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan (MSDP) and the Myanmar Investment Promotion Plan (MIPP). The plan is under revision to be in conformity with the existing situation.
With vision to modernize the nation’s industrial sector through the Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan (MSDP), the “National Innovation Policy” is in the process. The “MSMEs Master Plan” is to be released soon.
Policy guidelines on motor vehicle industry sub-sector have been released in 2019. Moreover, the Industrial zonal law has been submitted to the Hluttaw. A new industrial zonal law designed to encourage factories and workshops to relocate to strategic industrial zones is due soon.
Standardization guidelines in connection with that of the spare parts of motor vehicles; that of the electrical goods; and that of (50) different items were being standardized, and (68) items are to be prescribed soon.
Q: Please explain on the plans on human resources development and the technological development.
A: There are (6) technical institutes functioning with the international assistance in the country, and that two more institutes are to be established in Thaton and Monywa. On average, (1,000) skillful workers are nurtured each year from these technical institutes, and that (922) trainees have been provided with training through “mobile vocational” courses for (20) events conducted in states / regions.
In catching up with the Industrial Revolution 4.0, the training courses on the Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning are on the agenda.
Q: Kindly share us on the assistances being offered to private sector in the industrial transformation.
A: For the advantage of the MSMEs, the “SME Member Card Online Registration” and the “e-Payment System” have been arranged, and moreover, assistances are being provided to MSMEs to have access for low interest loans.
In conclusion on my part, the transformation of the existing government industry sector into private participation would be realized in transparency with the business people for mutual cooperation in momentum. After all, the MoPFI would uphold the regulatory duty effectively in keeping the industry in line with the policy guidelines, rules and regulations. Translated by UMT (Ahlon)