On This Day

The First of a Succession of Myanmar’s Failed Economic Plans

By Wei Yan Aung 6 June 2019

YANGON—With Myanmar on the verge of becoming an independent country, the first national economic planning session was held 72 years ago today, and proposed a two-year project named the Sorrento Villa Project after the name of the building where the session was held.

The session, chaired by Gen. Aung San was attended by political leaders, economists, businesspeople and representatives from all walks of life and focused on the reconstruction of the country.

Gen. Aung San discussed eight priorities which included reducing food prices and unemployment, and improving education, health and transportation. Committees were formed to work on the respective sectors.

However, before the plan was finalized, Gen. Aung San was assassinated.

The National Planning Department of the newly independent government continued designing the plan, and finally adopted the two-year project after regaining independence in 1948. The plan was never implemented, however, due to the outbreak of civil war.

Later, the Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League government hired foreign economists and had another plan called Pyidawtha Plan created. This eight-year plan was not successful either, and a socialist economic system was put in place after Gen. Ne Win staged a coup in 1962. Though his Burma Socialist Programme Party government adopted some national economic development plans, by 1987 Myanmar was recognized by the United Nations as one of the world’s least developed countries.

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