This Week in Parliament
By The Irrawaddy 30 May 2020
Monday (May 25)
In the Lower House, lawmaker Daw Kyi Moh Moh Lwin asked about how the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement oversees private childcare centers across Myanmar. Deputy minister U Soe Aung said there are 251 orphanages officially registered with the ministry and the rules governing the establishment and operation of childcare centers are still in the process of being agreed. Therefore, the ministry has issued occasional instructions for orphanages to follow. The establishment and operation of childcare centers without official permission is punishable under child rights laws and social welfare departments oversee orphanages on a regular basis.
Tuesday (May 26)
Union ministers explained the government’s plans to obtain US$200 million (280 billion kyats) in loans to implement the National Food and Agriculture System Project for the post-COVID-19 recovery.
Wednesday (May 27)
For the first time under the National League for Democracy (NLD) government, the Union Parliament declined to approve in full an additional budget request by the military, cutting 10.6 billion kyats (US$7.57 million) from the 197.7 billion kyats (US$141 million) requested by the defense ministry for the remaining months of the 2019-20 fiscal year.
It is the first military budget request to be slashed since the NLD came to power in 2016, according to lawmakers.
The Parliament approved a budget of 680 million kyats (US$484,000) for the country’s defense at the International Court of Justice against genocide charges filed by The Gambia.
Thursday (May 28)
The military’s proxy Union Solidarity and Development Party and military-appointed lawmakers have called for the Speaker of the Union Parliament to be impeached, accusing U T Khun Myat of breaching the Constitution by acting on behalf of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s government as it launched its failed bid to amend the charter last year.
The Union Parliament approved ¥30 million (390 million kyats) in loans from the Japan International Cooperation Agency to remedy the social and economic impacts of COVID-19 and for economic reforms. Deputy Minister for Planning, Finance and Industry U Maung Maung Win said the loans will be spent based on action plans of the government’s COVID-19 Economic Relief Plan.
It also approved over 1.3 trillion kyats ($925 million) in borrowing from the Central Bank of Myanmar to cover budget deficits as the country’s spending on economic and social recovery and health care is expected to increase due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Friday (May 29)
The Union Parliament approved US$30 million (42 billion kyats) in borrowing from the Asian Development Bank to implement the Greater Mekong Subregion Health Security Project and improve health facilities to treat pandemics like COVID-19.
It also approved to obtain US$20 million (28 billion kyats) in loans from the Economic Development Cooperation Fund from the South Korean government for additional work in construction of the Myanmar-Korea Friendship Bridge which will link Yangon and Dala.
It also approved interest-free loans of €33 million (51 billion kyats) from Austria’s Unicredit Bank to create e-IDs for the population registry, as well as obtain US$200 million (280 billion kyats) in loans from the World Bank to implement the National Food and Agriculture System Project for post-COVID-19 recovery.
The Union Parliament also approved the regional and state budget bills.
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