Friday, May 18, 2012

How to do Golden Land (Myanmar) (2)

Mr Speaker,

The bottom line process along with eternal peace is to develop the Myanmar economy most quickly. The second wish of the people is for our nation to develop with strong economy. In the time of our government, reform measures are being taken for macro-economy by laying down short- and long-term projects so that a market economic system suitable to the nation’s prevailing conditions can emerge clearly.

When the global economy is still instable, when our nation has not had the economic sanctions lifted and when our domestic businesses have not been strong enough with lack of competitiveness, we have had to prioritize the prompt issuance of work business licenses and export/import licenses with a view to enabling our citizens to do business easily and conveniently.

We relaxed export-related taxes. The new exchange rate of foreign currencies has been set temporarily according to the outside market situation. At the same time, plans are under way to adopt a durable and strong foreign exchange rate that will do no harm to our citizens in cooperation and coordination with local and foreign experts as well as international monetary organizations.

In wiping out barriers to the administrative mechanism so as to reduce unnecessary costs and expenditures, we have given permission to export rice freely and taken measures to significantly reduce prices of fuels, telephones and cars. Similarly, we are taking steps to reduce transactional costs.

As regards the matter of mobile phones, which is the most interesting issue among the people, we will seek best ways and means to fulfil the wishes of the people. We are making plans to amend and pass laws for the proper evolution of market economy.

In order to reduce transport charges in the long run, we will take action to reduce car prices in parallel with those of the international community. While encouraging the promotion of the private sector in economy, we are conducting institutional reforms for capacity-building of state-owned businesses.

Changes and reforms are also taking place in collaboration with international organizations for the flourishing of capital market and financial market as well as for the emergence of conglomerates. In addition, we are encouraging private banks to be economically strong, and light and medium industries to acquire capital and technologies. We will make our continued efforts to reduce the monopolization of public services and to make sure every citizen has the right to enjoy those services.

We are taking measures with care and consideration to ensure that privatization is not in the hands of only a handful of people and that there are no inequality and no barrier to capacity-building.

For the emergence of transparent and predictable firms, we are adopting projects that can facilitate business transactions and promote competency. We are indeed promoting the role of private sector seeking valuable advice and suggestions from local and foreign experts in the economic field.

The national development strategy of our government is not aimed at developing a class or a community but aimed at developing every aspect of all walks of life, all classes or all the people of the Myanmar polity. We are doing so not only to develop our GDP but also to improve the people’s living standards, the public services like education, health and security and to make sure that the natural environment is not affected by development.

While trying to increase the population of middle class that plays a key role in national development, we are creating a sound economic environment by inviting technical know-how, capital investment, expertise and management at home and abroad in order to improve per capita income of the grassroots, create more job opportunities and develop the whole national economic structure in various sectors such as agriculture, industry and service.
Mr Speaker,

All the dignitaries including me, the two vice-presidents, Tatmadaw leaders, union ministers, state/region chief ministers, state/region government members and those responsible for legislative and judicial pillars have a sense of oneness to serve the best interests of the nation and the people.

We have also known that we are facing various criticisms from various places. We have heard some rumours with negative attitude. As said by some others, our government is not divided into a hard-line camp and soft-line camp.

Apart from different aspects of management depending on gene, habit and character of individuals, we are all doing our best with confidence adhering to the policy of our government. At a time when we are in transition to a new era and new system and we are developing the whole society of Myanmar into a democratic one, it is important for the government to be strong.

The government shouldering the duty of transition needs to take reform measures step by step in a united and stable manner. So, we need to make sure that the road to our reform process is strong and subtle. Now, we are trying to reduce unnecessary procedures of our cabinet meetings and waste of time as little as possible so as to promote the interests of our nation and people.

Government ministries and organizations and state/region governments are to put all their energy into providing public services for the people’s satisfaction and happiness by trying not to waste time holding series of meetings. The corruption rooted in successive eras as a national challenge had been conceived through eras and systems.

In this time of system change, we are taking educative measures and persuasion, giving warnings and take action with all possible approaches to morality, conviction, ethics, worksite welfare, monitoring, law, principle and procedures.

The restructuring of the administrative mechanism down to ward/village level calls for firm rules and laws that can remove the thorns of successive eras. With the system change and era alongside subtle work plans, corruption and bribery will die down.

Thus, we are taking time to restructure our administrative mechanism. We will try to increase salaries and allowances at a right time depending on our macro-economic situations such as our current financial situation, foreign debts and deficits.

Since taking office, our government members did not accept high salaries and have been taking the same salary rates of the previous government.

When our nation still has class disparity, widening rich-poor gap and low per capita income, I would like to say that we, civil servants, need to shoulder our duties with goodwill and patience in order to fully provide public services and reduce the burden of extra costs and expenditures.

As the number of service personnel accounts for only 3.3 percent of the nation’s total population, we have to consider the 96.7% of the population who are just ordinary wage earners. Now that there are discussions of pay rises, commodity prices have skyrocketed suddenly.

As our civil servants can enjoy better living conditions due to increased salaries, the 58 million of people who are not government employees will face the consequences for sure. As we are not in a position to prioritize our own mechanism alone, we will have to take all-round consideration in taking steps to increase salaries and allowances.

Since taking office, our government has been putting on the priority list the people from rural areas and in the agricultural field. As this duty is easier said than done, we are trying with a new approach to government private cooperation.

Despite knowing that it is not easy to fight poverty quickly in a short time, we are striving to reduce poverty rate of our nation from 26% to 16% in 2015 and remove our nation from the list of least-developed countries in accord with the MDG of the UN with the help of local and international private organizations, NGOs and INGOs so that our needy people can live with dignity through assistance, job opportunities and health and social security benefits.

For the health care of those needy people, we are planning to adopt a universal health insurance system in collaboration with private organizations. In order to create jobs outside the agriculture sector, we are taking measures to develop more industries relying on regional conditions by including industrial planning in the national development projects. In those projects, we are trying to include the future development of our young national people who will be reunited according to our national reconsolidation process.

In increasing taxes necessarily in the short term, we are taking measures with care and consideration in order not to affect the people’s socio-economy whilst we are acting with good governance so as to mend defects and weaknesses of the State.

But in the long term, we will try to pass a new tax law that can not only guarantee equality and fairness but also cause no burden to our low income people. And that new law will make all the citizens including the President pay taxes.

Industrial zones are being established across the nation to create more job opportunities. Moreover, our government is planning to make sure that local and foreign investments flow rapidly to the country and to firmly protect those investments.

While building a democratic society, we need to reform our political and economic processes at the same time. We are also striving for harmonious development of human resources, an essential prerequisite for emergence of a democratic society and development of national economy.

For reforming educational institutions like universities and schools, reform measures are being taken not only for school curriculums and syllabuses but for management sector in accord with the new system.

Although every college and university will be under the control of the ministry concerned, plans will be made for them to operate under their self control one day. Every basic education school must have its own library. Similarly, all colleges and universities need to have online libraries connected to accredited international universities in addition to their traditional libraries.

Our government, which is doing the job based on knowledge oriented economy, has to constantly promote the quality of our teachers and schools with the help of international universities. We are also setting up Internet networks and telecommunication networks so as to wipe out our digital divide in this age of technology and knowledge.

For national development, we have earmarked money to increase spending of the health sector by fourfold and that of the education sector by twofold in the coming financial year. With subtle reformation process plus increased State fund, we will encourage more development of human resources.

In the time of our government, new policies have been adopted to substitute natural resource extraction-based foreign investment with manufacturing-based foreign investment and we are seeking assistance from local and foreign technicians and experts.

While trying to build strong macro-economy, we are laying down short- and long-term projects that are filled with basic infrastructures, human resources, skilled workforce, high technology, environmental conservation, legal organizational structure, competent economic area and improved private participation.

Our government is shouldering three major duties – nation’s transition, building of a new nation and improvement of the whole Myanmar society. Our government is striving for national development with three basic policies that is to say our national development must be environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.

In doing so, we have opened the door to investment and assistance from inside and outside of the country.

Investment and assistance of one dollar in Myanmar by the international community amounts to contribution of one dollar for the flourishing of democracy and the interests of Myanmar people.

So, the international community is urged to extend a helping hand to Myanmar with in-depth understandings of actual conditions so that our country with democracy still in its infancy will not collapse.
(Speech of Myanmar President U Thein Sein)

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