This research focuses on understanding the role of state and region governments in relation to Myanmar’s public finances. This has been done to take stock of existing research, better understand the composition of subnational finances, and attempt to address whether, at this point in the fiscal decentralisation process, state and region governments have sufficient resources to fulfil their constitutionally delegated responsibilities. Recognising the complex and varied factors relevant to addressing these questions, a range of qualitative and quantitative approaches were employed, including semi-structured interviews of stakeholders, consultation with sector experts and analysis of published budget and socioeconomic data.
A common argument for a country engaging in fiscal decentralisation rests on the idea that the provision of public goods and services at lower levels of government can encourage the more efficient and effective allocation of public resources. This was in part recognised in the 2013 Framework for Economic and Social Reforms which outlined the Government of Myanmar’s intention to develop a participatory process of local budgeting which greater reflects local needs while also developing the appropriate legislative and regulatory frameworks to facilitate the appropriate transfer of powers and resources from centralised institutions.