Yangon Govt Criticized for Proposed Car Purchases

By Thazin Hlaing 1 June 2018

YANGON — The Yangon regional government has come under fire from regional lawmakers regarding its proposal to buy 10 Ford cars, which cost 100 million kyats each ($74,000), in its proposed budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year.

Lawmakers on Wednesday and Thursday discussed the proposed budget of the Yangon regional government for the 2018-19 fiscal year.

“Though some budget requests are necessary, I want to question if they should be prioritized. For example, is it necessary to spend 1 billion kyats to buy 10 cars to be used as office vehicles for the Yangon regional government?” questioned Hlaing Township lawmaker Daw Khaing Mar Htay.

Lawmakers U Wai Phyo Han of Insein Township, U Thein Naing of South Dagon Township, U Zaw Moe Lwin and Daw Thet Thet Mu of Kyauktan Township, U Zin Min Htwe of Dagon Seikkan Township and U Zaw Win Naing of Latha Township criticized the proposed budget.

U Wai Phyo Han of Insein Township said: “The government is an elected government, and it therefore, needs to fulfill the requirements of the people of first.”

“We’ve found that not enough money is spent on the requirements of the people, but excessive money is spent on the requirements of departments,” he added.

Besides the regional government’s proposal to buy Ford cars, lawmakers also criticized the proposed expenditure of 5.1 billion kyats by the regional municipality’s engineering department to build six, six-story staff quarters, and a proposed expenditure of more than 2 billion kyats by the Cooperatives Department, which hardly makes any money.

“I would say it is a spendthrift use of public funds. I am very disappointed that we have to fight with the government whenever we discuss the budget. The government can spend as necessary, but it should also give and work [for the people] as necessary,” said U Wai Phyo Han.

U Zaw Moe Lwin of Kyauktan Township also criticized the proposed budget of the Cooperatives Department.

“While it has proposed more than 2 billion kyats of expenditure, its proposed projects for the 2018-19 fiscal year are unlikely to yield any profit.”

The expenditure proposed for the 2018-19 fiscal year, 648 billion kyats, is almost the combined total of the budgets of the previous two fiscal years. We’d expect significant results from such increased spending,” said Latha Township lawmaker U Zaw Win Naing.

“We can assume that the proposed spending increase is due to taxation. If we spend such a large amount of money, we have to make sure we have progress.”

The Yangon regional government spent 336 billion kyats in the 2016-17 fiscal year, and the proposed budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year was 400 billion kyats, according to the records of the Yangon regional Parliament.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.