This Week in Parliament (May 22-26)

By The Irrawaddy 27 May 2017

Monday (May 22)

The Lower House approved a proposal from Thabaung Township lawmaker U Thein Tun to increase the tax the on the use of land, irrigation water, and reservoirs to a rate that does not cause a burden to farmers. According to the lawmaker, the taxes have not been increased in more than eight decades.

U Soe Nyunt, a judge of the Union Supreme Court, extended apologies to lawmakers for accusing them of holding the court in contempt. Earlier, the judge, in response to a Waw Township lawmaker’s proposal on March 7 urging the Union Supreme Court to fix the “corrupt” judicial system, said such an accusation amounted to contempt of court. Lawmakers, however, approved the proposal, which allows the Parliament to oversee the judicial system.

Tuesday (May 23)

The Union Parliament received the President’s proposal to continue Burma’s membership in 2017 Regional Cooperative Agreement (2017 RCA) which replaced the 1978 Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research, Development and Training related to Nuclear Science and Technology for Asia and the Pacific (1978 RCA).

The Parliament approved the President’s proposal to sign the Indian Ocean Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Port State Control.

Two lawmakers discussed the President’s proposal to obtain a US$125 loan from the World Bank to implement the South East Asia Disaster Risk Management Project, of which US$77 million is earmarked for the prevention of urban flooding in the commercial capital of Rangoon.

Nineteen lawmakers discussed the President’s proposal to sign the agreement for the establishment of the Asean Forest Cooperation Organization.

Wednesday (May 24)

There was no session in either of the two houses, as lawmakers attended the second 21st Century Panglong Peace Conference which convened in Naypyidaw.

Thursday (May 25)

To dismay of lower-level civil servants, Deputy Minister for Planning and Finance U Maung Maung Maung Win told Mingin Township’s lawmaker U Maung Myint in the Lower House that the government had no plan so far to increase the pay for civil servants. The deputy minister however said that the government was implementing other measures to contribute to the welfare of civil servants, such as the sale of apartments in installments and increasing overtime pay and other allowances.

The Parliament also approved a proposal from Hlaingbwe Township lawmaker U Khin Cho urging the government to adopt strategies to address the country’s unemployment problem. According to the lawmaker, Burma has over 32.98 million people aged between 15 and 64, but just 66 percent are working.

In the Upper House, Daw Khin Swe Lwin of Chin State Constituency (9) asked if the government could provide small and medium enterprises (SME) in Chin State with access to international loans for their development.

Union Minister for Industry U Khin Maung Cho said that the government had obtained a loan of around 50 billion kyats intended for SME development from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and provided 41.558 billion kyats to 186 SMEs in 10 divisions and states; and that businesses in Chin State could ask for the loans from the remaining 8.442 billion kyats through the state government.

Friday (May 26)

There was no session in either house.