Union Parliament Rejects Yangon Govt Request for VIP Vehicles

By Thazin Hlaing 25 September 2018

YANGON — The Union Parliament has rejected the Yangon regional government’s proposed budget for the purchase of a fleet of Ford cars for use by government ministers.

The funds will be used to fulfill the needs of various townships in the city instead, regional Planning and Finance Minister U Myint Thaung told the regional Parliament on Monday as he presented the city’s proposed budget for fiscal 2018-19.

During a debate in June on the regional government’s proposed spending for fiscal 2018-19, regional lawmakers voiced fierce opposition to the Yangon government’s plan to purchase 10 Ford vehicles at a cost of 1 billion kyats (US$700,000).

At the time, U Myint Thaung insisted the purchase would go ahead, adding that the vehicles were needed to ensure the safe transportation of regional ministers and important guests, including state and international leaders invited to attend Yangon government functions.

But after lawmakers insisted that priority be given to the needs of the general public over the purchase of official vehicles, the proposal was forwarded to the Union Parliament for a final decision.

The budget of 1.089 billion kyats earmarked for 76 vehicles including the 10 Fords will instead be used to build an overpass for the dockyard in Dawbon Township as well as pay compensation for [confiscated] lands,” U Myint Thaung said.

In place of the Fords, the regional government will request vehicles from the Central Equipment Statistics and Inspection Department under the Ministry of Planning and Finance. The department keeps a pool of vehicles that have been confiscated for various reasons.

In June, the Yangon Parliament’s Finance, Planning and Economic Committee also asked that a proposed 6.8-billion kyat ($5.05-million) investment in the Yangon City Bank by Yangon municipality be scrapped.

The Union Parliament, however, did not scrap the proposed budget, and the Yangon regional Parliament will debate it again.

“The Union Parliament has cut the budget for [Ford] cars, but the Union [government] will provide [the regional government with cars]. The proposed investment in Yangon City Bank was not cut [by the Union Parliament] despite our opposition. We have to debate it again,” regional lawmaker for Dagon Township U Kyaw Zeya told The Irrawaddy.

The regional government has received a budget of 650.194 billion kyats for fiscal 2018-19. It spent over 336 billion kyats in fiscal 2016-17, and its proposed budget for 2017-18 fiscal was 400 billion kyats.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.