Burma

Myanmar’s Civilian Government to Start Selling Bonds to Fund Revolution

By The Irrawaddy 5 November 2021

Myanmar’s civilian National Unity Government will start selling bonds this month to fund the revolutionary movement against the junta. It is a first for shadow administrations from Myanmar opposing military rule since the 1962 coup.

A large majority of Myanmar’s population rejects military rule and the junta faces opposition in various forms, including flash-mob protests, armed resistance, cyberattacks and advocacy.

The NUG, which was largely formed by the National League for Democracy and representatives of ethnic minorities and anti-regime protest groups in April, said the bond sales will offer no interest.

Anti-regime movements have been largely supported by donations since the February coup, although the NUG officially introduced voluntary taxation in August.

Excluding military spending, the NUG is hoping to raise at least US$800 million (1.4 trillion kyats) for social and humanitarian support, including health care, education, social care and funding for military personnel and police officers who defect.

The alternative government is offering three ways to contribute: lottery ticket sales, bonds and voluntary tax.

The NUG is urgently seeking to fund health care, education, and humanitarian assistance, U Tin Tun Naing, the NUG’s minister for planning, finance and investment, told an online press conference on Thursday.

He said he hopes citizens at home and abroad will help as the majority of people desperately want the dictatorship to fall.

U Tin Tun Naing said the move to sell bonds by a “revolutionary government” against a dictatorship is unique in history.

The bonds are valued at $100, $500, $1,000 and $5,000.

It aims to raise $1 billion from the two-year bonds, which do not offer interest.

“We sell bonds to help our revolution prevail. People have shown their willingness to buy bonds for the revolution to succeed, not for the interest,” he said.

U Tin Tun Naing added that businesses can safely buy bonds with each investor given a secret ID to hide their identity for security reasons.

In August, the NUG introduced a pilot project selling “Spring Lottery” tickets online to support civil servants in the civil disobedience movement (CDM). More than 200,000 ticket orders were made but many of the payments were cancelled and the actual sales only managed to support around 5,800 striking staff.

Almost 410,000 civil servants have joined the anti-regime movement, refusing to work under the junta, according to the NUG.

Increasing numbers of civil servants, military personnel and police are joining the CDM with some 800 military personnel and police defecting in September and October, according to the NUG.

On Friday, the NUG began the commercial launch of its lottery and aims to secure 20 billion kyats ($11 million) to support around 200,000 CDM staff, who have been deemed most in need.

Last month, the NUG invited taxpayers, including businesses at home and abroad, to voluntarily pay tax online through a self-assessment process, after the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (Union Parliament) approved the Union Taxation Law in September.

In a month, the NUG said it collected more than $150,000 in tax.

U Tin Tun Naing said the tax payments prove businesses and individuals have joined the anti-regime movement.


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