Myanmar Govt to Combine Two Key Economic Ministries
By The Irrawaddy 14 November 2019
YANGON—The Myanmar government plans to combine the positions of Minister of Industry and Minister of Planning and Finance into a single position, according to the Union Parliament agenda for Friday.
According to the agenda, a Union-level representative from the government will explain the plan to parliamentary lawmakers in order to seek their approval.
According to a proposal by President U Win Myint, the two ministries will be merged entirely and named the Planning, Finance and Industry Ministry, if lawmakers endorse the plan.
In late July, the President’s Office appointed U Soe Win, the Union minister for planning and finance, to concurrently serve as industry minister after U Khin Maung Cho was shuffled out of the position due to performance problems.
In August, the Myanmar President’s Office appointed former World Bank economist and poverty specialist Dr. Min Ye Paing Hein as deputy industry minister.
The Ministry of Planning and Finance is responsible for monetary services, bank services, public finance management, revenue systems, economic plans, investment, human resource development and coordination and communication with local and foreign organizations in the country.
The Ministry of Industry is responsible for state-owned enterprises and ensuring that they are commercially viable. The ministry promotes the involvement of the private sector in state-owned enterprises and works to enhance private sector development to uplift the socioeconomic standards of citizens by developing small and medium-sized enterprises. The ministry also supports growth in labor-intensive industries, develops export-oriented industries and promotes value-added industries.
In a bid to reduce government expenditure, the NLD began its tenure in power in 2016 with 19 ministers heading 21 ministries. There were also eight deputy ministers serving in the State Counselor’s and President’s offices and the ministries of Border Affairs, Finance and Planning, Foreign Affairs, Home Affairs, and Transport and Communications.
However, the cabinet has expanded significantly since then: the most recent addition came last year, when the NLD created the Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations. The government now has 25 ministries led by 24 Union ministers and 20 deputy ministers.