This Week in Parliament (Feb. 13 - Feb. 17)

By The Irrawaddy 25 February 2017

This Week in Parliament
Monday (Feb. 20)

The Minister for Planning and Finance and the Joint Bill Committee discussed the Union taxation bill 2017. The Joint Bill Committee discussed its findings and remarks on the national planning bill for 2017-18 fiscal year.

Tuesday (Feb. 21)

In the Lower House, Dr Min Thein of Ye-U Township, Sagaing Division asked if the Union government had plans to organize basic courses in health, agriculture, arts, and sports for students during summer holidays.

Deputy Minister for Education U Win Maw Htun replied that the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Sports jointly provided summer athletic training courses since late 1960s. Currently, 33 athletic training courses are provided in the summer annually, and the number of trainees had significantly increased over the past few years and reached to 52,621 across the country in 2016, U Win Maw Htun said.

The Education Ministry will also conduct a basic course on traditional medicines and natural remedies designed to promote healthy lifestyles among students, he said.

In the Upper House, in response to a question by U Aye Min Han of Mon State (1) about government measures to prevent the outbreak of fires, Deputy Minister for Home Affairs Maj-Gen Aung Soe said that the Fire Services Department will recruit new members as its current workforce is of only 9,594 firefighters nationwide although there are nearly 300,000 auxiliary firefighters.

The number of fire engines has increased from 1,282 units before 2011 to 1,739 units in 2016, and the parliament has also given approval to purchase hi-tech fire engines with 50 million euros loans from Poland, he said.

Wednesday (Feb.22)

Lawmakers debated a proposal by U Win Aung of Momauk Township, Kachin State which urged the Union government to increase the amount of money given away in the lottery. Currently, the government gives 60 percent of proceeds from the lottery as prize money and collects the remaining 40 percent. U Win Aung asked the Union government to collect only 30 percent and give 70 percent as prize money. Deputy Minister for Finance and Planning U Maung Maung Win objected to the proposal, saying the government’s overall taxation is quite small compared to that of neighboring countries.

Mi Kun Chan of Paung Township, Mon State urged the Union government to review long-term foreign investment and joint venture projects granted by successive governments, saying that many projects lacked transparency. The parliament approved to discuss her proposal.

The Upper House also discussed regional development issues.

Thursday (Feb. 23)

In the Lower House, lawmakers proposed improving road facilities in their respective constituencies and in the Upper House, lawmakers proposed improving health care facilities.

Friday (Feb. 24)

In the Union Parliament, Deputy minister for Foreign Affairs U Kyaw Tin explained the President’s proposal to establish diplomatic ties with six countries and entities—Liberia, Vatican City, Guinea, Malta, The Seychelles, and Ecuador.

The Union Parliament approved the draft taxation law and lawmakers discussed the President’s proposal to obtain a five-million-euro loan from Germany’s KfW Development Bank to repair trains.