Burma

Military-Owned Corporation Fails to Pay Dividends to Myanmar Troops 

By The Irrawaddy 18 May 2022

Myanmar’s military regime has not been able to make dividend payments from its businesses since the 2021 coup. 

The regime is more than seven months in arrears in paying dividends from the military-owned Myanma Economic Holdings Limited (MEHL), according to military personnel.

The dividend is usually paid at the end of the financial year on September 30. The regime was due to make its dividend payments in November last year, according to military personnel who have received nothing.

It has been mandatory for more than 20 years for all ranks to buy MEHL shares with the amount rising with seniority. 

A captain is required to invest 3 million kyats in MEHL and lower ranks 1.5 million kyats. Some who cannot afford to make the payments in full make monthly payments from their salaries.

Dividends are paid out in around October although payments can be delayed for remote units.

Shareholders normally receive a minimum dividend of approximately 30,000 kyats on a 100,000-kyat stake. 

The average private received a dividend of around 450,000 kyats and it provided a lifeline for many personnel.  

MEHL profits have tumbled amid boycotts on beer and cigarettes, which are the corporation’s main sources of income. 

Some have questioned whether the junta leadership has seized MEHL’s income. 

“MEHL is still profitable, despite the boycott, but commanders have spent the profits elsewhere and not paid the dividends to soldiers,” said a military officer. 

Captain Ye Min Oo, who defected in April, told Myanmar Now that he assumed the regime spent MEHL profits on Union Day and Armed Forces Day parades and the Thingyan water festival.

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