NAYPYITAW — Military representatives to Parliament and lawmakers of the opposition Union Solidarity and Development party (USPD) have called for reconsideration of the changing of the fiscal year.
Lawmakers debated at the Union Parliament on Monday the President’s proposal to change the fiscal year originally from the period of April 1 to March 30, to the period of October 1 to September 30.
Military representative Maj. Thaung Htike Soe argued against the proposal, saying that the current fiscal year has been practised for the past 40 years, and the change would lead to inconvenience.
“Under the current fiscal year, we can disburse agricultural loans to farmers, which constitute 70 percent of the country’s population, prior to the cultivation season [before the rainy season],” he said.
“Now we share the same fiscal year with Japan, one of our donors, and we therefore can receive assistance from it. With the current fiscal year, we don’t need to change the Union budget law,” he said.
U Thaung Aye, USDP MP in the Lower House, spoke of the risks of scrapping an established system.
“When the new government took office, it reduced the number of existing ministers and combined some ministries. So it was difficult to know the real situation of each department,” he said.
“People now are facing financial hardship, limited job opportunities and climate change so it is not yet a good time to change the fiscal year.”
According to the President’s proposal, the new fiscal year allows construction work to be started immediately after the beginning of the fiscal year and continued for eight consecutive dry months.
However, Maj. Thaung Htike Soe said the current fiscal year keeps balance because construction works can be divided into two periods in a project’s lifecycle—six months for preparation and procurement of materials, and another six months for implementing the operation.
The President’s proposal also argued that the beginning of the budget year is immediately followed by Thingyan public holidays under the current fiscal year system.
However, Maj. Thaung Htike Soe said Thingyan public holidays have been reduced to five days as of this year, and that period has no significant impact on functions of the fiscal year.
“When a fiscal year starts doesn’t matter. What matters is people and departments. If departments which are responsible for administration of the country and all the people can perform their duties in unity and in line with rules and regulations, there won’t be any difficulty,” said U Aung Min, chairman of the Lower House Public Accounts Committee.
Currently, 12 countries including the United States of America, Thailand and Laos practise the Oct-Sept fiscal year.
Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.