Parliament Waits to Approve Projects as Lawmakers Call for Transparency

By Kyaw Phyo Tha 17 May 2018

YANGON — The Yangon Parliament has not yet approved the regional government’s urban development proposal regarding infrastructure, transportation, housing and economic development projects in the commercial capital totaling more than 1.3 trillion kyats as lawmakers call for more transparency.

The Yangon government submitted a report about 12 projects funded by local and international investment from 2018-21 to the regional Parliament early this month. Since the submission, 14 lawmakers have debated the report, complained that they had little or no idea about the projects and criticized the government’s lack of transparency.

Lawmakers said the report that the government submitted to Parliament only included titles of projects and general information, making it difficult for them to give their approval.

“If we approve, it is nothing more than signing a blank paper and then Parliament is responsible for the consequences caused by those projects,” said U Nay Phone Latt, a National League for Democracy (NLD) lawmaker, in Parliament during a debate early this week.

Constitutionally, projects to be carried out by regional or state governments have to be approved by the relevant Parliament.

On Wednesday, the Yangon government’s Minister of Electricity, Industry, Transport and Communication Daw Nilar Kyaw gave a lengthy explanation of the projects to the regional Parliament.

“We will implement the projects upon the approval of the Parliament,” she said.

The Parliament on Wednesday did not give the projects the green light. Instead, the speaker sought consensus from the lawmakers to keep their discussion and the minister’s explanation as a “record.”

NLD lawmaker U Kyaw Zeya said the projects have not been approved by the Parliament thus far.

“It is only documented that the issue was discussed in Parliament and that it will be open to further debate,” he said.

Another NLD lawmaker Daw Sandar Min said: “If the government resubmits the proposal with more details and amendments, we will discuss it again.”

Daw Nilar Kyaw on Wednesday said out of 12 proposed projects, feasibility studies have been carried out for some but are still ongoing for others.

The minister was not available for immediate comment on Thursday when the government will resubmit the proposal with amendments.