Government to Announce Economic Policy This Week

By Kyaw Hsu Mon 25 July 2016

RANGOON — The National League for Democracy (NLD) government will announce its long-awaited economic policy through state-run media on July 29 said Tun Tun Naing, permanent secretary of the Ministry of National Planning and Finance.

The public reveal of the economic policies comes almost four months after the NLD assumed power.

Tun Tun Naing did not elaborate on policy details and said further information would come directly from the planning and finance minister.

Sean Turnell, economic advisor to the NLD, told The Irrawaddy last week that the government’s economic policies would follow the ones laid out by the NLD last year, as industry observers and experts expected.

“The principles will remain the same,” he said, but added that one big issue facing the government is a lack of security. “People don’t trust in banks. They don’t have land security. Investment security is fundamental.”

The NLD’s previous economic policies stressed fiscal prudence, lean and efficient government, a revitalized agricultural sector, monetary and fiscal stability and functioning infrastructure. The party also emphasized that policies comply with domestic laws and be consistent with international human rights standards in order to facilitate foreign direct investment (FDI).

Myat Thin Aung, chairman of the Hlaing Tharyar Industrial Zone, said he does not have high expectations for these early economic policies because they were set with politicians rather than after sufficient consulting with industry experts.

Politicians need to discuss policy with business industry experts, even after releasing their plans, he said, adding that while the NLD’s policy may need to be fine-tuned, he hopes that it will emerge “better.”

Myat Thin Aung said he expected the government to favor local entrepreneurs in order to compete with foreign investors who are entering the country.

“The economic policy should be strong enough to support all types of investors,” he said.