NMSP Looks to Sell Import Licenses

By Lawi Weng 24 April 2012

The New Mon State Party (NMSP) plans to sell 25 car-import licenses that it received when it met with a government peace negotiator earlier this month, according to a source from the group.

The licenses, each of which can be used for the import of a single vehicle, were granted to the NMSP during talks with Railways Minister Aung Min, the government’s chief negotiator with ethnic armed groups, in the Mon State capital Moulmein on April 10.

An NMSP official who asked not to be named said that the group is asking 10 million kyat (around US $12,000) for each license. Four Mon businessmen have expressed a desire to purchase the licenses, the official said.

“They [the NMSP] are having problems selling them,” said Nai Kao Rot, a former deputy army chief of Mon National Liberation Army, the armed wing of the NMSP. “The government has also told them not to sell the licenses to private persons, as they were intended only for the party.”

The NMSP signed a peace agreement with the Burmese government on Feb. 25.

During the talks in Moulmein, the party raised five issues, calling for a nationwide ceasefire, a sustainable ceasefire agreement, further union-level dialogue, the release of two Mon political prisoners (Nai Yekkha and Nai Chemgakao), and a move toward social development in Mon State.

Aung Min told the NMSP leaders at the meeting to apply for company licenses for party businesses. The NMSP plans to open economic zones in Moulmein and in Three Pagodas Pass, near the Thai-Burmese border.

When the NMSP signed its first ceasefire agreement in 1995, the Burmese regime offered the group’s former chairman, Nai Shwe Kyin, three houses in Rangoon and gave central committee members land in Moulmein.

The regime also gave the group mining concessions in Mogoke, Mandalay Division, and Bhamo, Kachin State. However, the party later sold these properties in order to cover its annual operating costs.