Myanmar Parliament to Discuss Budget Allocation, Foreign Loans for COVID-19 Response

By San Yamin Aung 27 April 2020

YANGON—Myanmar’s Union Parliament has announced that its next session will begin on May 18. The upcoming session is likely to discuss a supplementary budget allocation and foreign loans to finance the country’s COVID-19 response.

Parliament initially planned to resume on Monday but the date was pushed back after the government imposed tighter restrictions on travel and banned gatherings of more than four people to contain the spread of the coronavirus in the country. The current directives issued for COVID-19 end on May 15.

Dr. Hla Moe, a lawmaker from the ruling National League for Democracy and a member of the Parliamentary Rights Committee, said Parliament is set to meet as it is necessary to debate and pass the supplementary budget allocation and the financing for the COVID-19 response plan soon.

The government plans to seek a US$50-million (70.85-billion-kyat) emergency loan from the World Bank to fund improvements in the hospital system and public health emergency preparedness in the battle against the coronavirus across the country.

Some lawmakers have raised concerns over the spread of the virus, as they are required to travel from their constituencies to Naypyitaw to attend the parliamentary session and take part in meetings.

U Kyaw Soe, director general of Myanmar’s Parliament, said the legislature would implement all necessary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including social distancing inside the chambers, requiring lawmakers to undergo medical check-ups before they leave their constituencies, and arranging transportation for MPs traveling to Naypyitaw.

The parliamentary central committee will meet on Thursday to ensure that all needed preventive measures are being implemented for lawmakers.

The upcoming Parliament session will last for only two weeks and is due to end in early June.

Additional reporting by Htet Naing Zaw from Naypyitaw

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