Stakeholders Call for Economy to be Top Priority
By The Irrawaddy 11 December 2017
YANGON — U Myint, the former chief economic advisor to the previous administration, urged State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to set economic development as a top priority together with peace building.
During his keynote address to the second Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) Convention in Yangon on Dec. 9, he requested that the State Counselor pay greater attention to Myanmar’s economic issues.
He said the expectations of business people and potential investors are uncertain, as they have difficulty deciphering the government’s economic policies or growth strategy.
He offered his recommendations based on feedback he had received from stakeholders. He currently serves as an economic adviser to the UMFCCI.
He stated that the real world in which people are living and the statistical world that exists in reports need to be reconciled and that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi could restore growth and vitality to the country and take it from “pause mode to fast forward.”
Also referring to the gross domestic products of various Asean countries, the economist said that Myanmar must try harder to increase GDP relative to its neighbors, as it currently was second from the bottom only above Cambodia.
Laos ranks one position above Myanmar in GDP, but he said that the prospect of catching up during the remainder of this NLD term seems rather slim.
He encouraged the state counselor to hold frequent meetings with NLD economic advisers, as well as other stakeholders.
“Please encourage and allow more opportunities for them to speak freely and frankly. Their views should be given consideration in making decisions,” he said.
He also urged for the drafting of a strategy to promote economic growth called the Myanmar Economic Vision. He called for it to be a formal legal document that would be submitted to Parliament.
In his draft strategy, he outlined that the Tatmadaw (Myanmar Army) would play a critical role, as “its cooperation and support are essential to achieving the goals set in the MEV.” He also encouraged the sharing of views between other key players, including political parties and all Myanmar nationals.
More than 100 representatives from the private business sector across Myanmar participated in the UMFCCI convention, where they decided on a list of recommendations to strengthen the economy and further connectivity between stakeholders.
A statement posted on the UMFCCI Facebook page said it would deliver these recommendations, as well as U Myint’s, to the government as soon as possible.
“For economic development, it is not only the government’s responsibility. At our conference, we discussed and agreed to do the tasks that we in the private sector can do,” said U Zaw Min Win, UMFCCI chairman.