Country Session 14: Myanmar

<span “color: #000000;” data-sheets-value=”[null,2,”Robin Burgess (IGC) opened the Myanmar County Session, in which three delegates from the Centre for Economic and Social Development (CESD) at the Myanmar Development Resource Institute presented on pressing reform issues in the country. As IGC engagement in Myanmar is in its early stages, the session was used effectively to provide some information on the state of play in Myanmar and identify potential areas of work where research would be of particular use to policy-making efforts in the country.\n\nZaw Oo (CESD), provided a brief overview of the political and economic context, highlighting recent political reform initiatives from President Thein Sein, the political participation of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, as well as the persistent challenge of negotiating peace with ethnic minority groups in the border states. Dr Oo suggested that fiscal management and structural transformation including broad based growth, rural development and a strengthened private sector were pressing issues and areas that provide an opportunity for collaboration with the IGC. He noted, however, that capacity in government, resource constraints and data quality remain significant challenges to evidence-based policy-making. In addition, issues of political economy are of critical importance and particular attention given to the sequencing and prioritization of reforms is needed.\n\nSoe Nandar Linn (CESD), spoke about the sub-national budgeting process in Myanmar and highlighted initial successes in fiscal and monetary reform including recent reductions in the budget deficit, the exchange rate unification and improved public access to budgetary information. She emphasized the need for further progress in several areas including horizontal resource allocation rules and regulations governing transfers from central to state and regional governments, more systematic formulation of the sub-national fiscal plan, more equitable resource sharing and participatory planning for regional development. Min Zar Ni Lin (CESD) spoke about labor migration in Myanmar and the impact of remittances, which may be contributing to currency appreciation. He noted that remittances are transmitted through informal channels, and are a crucial source of income to many in Myanmar, particularly for emergency needs and as a safety net. However, he noted, families mainly rely on remittances for consumption rather than investments in, for example, agricultural production or education. Min Zar Ni Lin suggested that the impact of remittances on dependent families may in fact be to facilitate unproductive investments and irresponsible spending.\n\nAudio is not available for this session.”]” data-sheets-userformat=”[null,null,2111744,null,null,null,null,null,null,null,null,0,null,null,[null,2,0],”calibri,arial,sans,sans-serif”,11,null,null,null,null,null,null,null,[null,0,0,0,0]]”>Robin Burgess (IGC) opened the Myanmar County Session at Growth Week 2012, in which three delegates from the Centre for Economic and Social Development (CESD) at the Myanmar Development Resource Institute presented on pressing reform issues in the country. As IGC engagement in Myanmar is in its early stages, the session was used effectively to provide some information on the state of play in Myanmar and identify potential areas of work where research would be of particular use to policy-making efforts in the country.

Zaw Oo (CESD), provided a brief overview of the political and economic context, highlighting recent political reform initiatives from President Thein Sein, the political participation of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, as well as the persistent challenge of negotiating peace with ethnic minority groups in the border states. Dr Oo suggested that fiscal management and structural transformation including broad based growth, rural development and a strengthened private sector were pressing issues and areas that provide an opportunity for collaboration with the IGC. He noted, however, that capacity in government, resource constraints and data quality remain significant challenges to evidence-based policy-making. In addition, issues of political economy are of critical importance and particular attention given to the sequencing and prioritization of reforms is needed.

Soe Nandar Linn (CESD), spoke about the sub-national budgeting process in Myanmar and highlighted initial successes in fiscal and monetary reform including recent reductions in the budget deficit, the exchange rate unification and improved public access to budgetary information. She emphasized the need for further progress in several areas including horizontal resource allocation rules and regulations governing transfers from central to state and regional governments, more systematic formulation of the sub-national fiscal plan, more equitable resource sharing and participatory planning for regional development. Anonymous Author spoke about labor migration in Myanmar and the impact of remittances, which may be contributing to currency appreciation. They noted that remittances are transmitted through informal channels, and are a crucial source of income to many in Myanmar, particularly for emergency needs and as a safety net. However, they noted, families mainly rely on remittances for consumption rather than investments in, for example, agricultural production or education. They suggested that the impact of remittances on dependent families may in fact be to facilitate unproductive investments and irresponsible spending.

Audio is not available for this session.