New policy & New Government
The government has launched a Development Assistance Policy (DAP) under which it aims to more effectively and transparently channel aid funds provided by international agencies to where they are needed. Over the years, Myanmar has received billions in international aid and assistance from the likes of International Partners in Development, United Nations and other international non-government organisations which have contributed to its economic development.
However, the country has been lacking in a proper policy to ensure funds are disbursed efficiently. This has resulted in delays in approvals, constraints to implementation and higher-than-necessary transaction costs for both sides. As such, the purpose of the DAP, which was announced last week, is to ensure that development assistance is at all times used in ways which accelerates the country’s development and contributes to the achievement of the Economic Policy of Myanmar. All development assistance to Myanmar will also demonstrate a clear alignment with one or more of the United Nations’
Sustainable Development Goals. “Achieving the vision set forth within the economic policy of the union of Myanmar will require the mobilisation and coordination of a range of development finance, all of which, if used well, have the potential to make a significant and long-lasting contribution to our country’s development,” said U Kyaw Win, union minister of Ministry of Planning and Finance. Under the new policy, a framework has been drawn up to guide the delivery of development assistance. Standard operating procedures have also been put in place to streamline the identification, approval and implementation of wholly and partially-funded initiatives. The DAP will be implemented by the Development Assistance Coordination Unit (DACU), which will be chaired by State Counsellor Daw Aung Sun Suu Kyi. Meanwhile, the government will further streamline the implementation process by establishing ten sector coordination groups to facilitate the effective utilisation of development assistance in designated areas such as agriculture, education, energy, healthcare, nutrition, job creation , social protection and disaster, transport, information and communications technology as well as the environment. “Myanmar is a recipient of a lot of donor assistance so it’s very important that systems be coordinated and are consistent with the overall economy policy, said Dr. Sean Turnell, Special Economic Consultant to the State Counsellor. “This initiative is good because it is for the sustainable development of the country. But the government has to work on implementing this,” told U Hla Thein, Central Executive Committee of Union Solidarity and Development Party.
Myanmar is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), but international tariff standards cover only 18% of its goods and services. While its commitment to binding international tariffs agreements is limited, Myanmar generally levies tariffs that are comparable or lower than that of other countries in the region. Myanmar tariffs generally range from zero to 40%. Luxury items have the highest tariffs. As a member of the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA), Myanmar has committed the Common Effective Preferential Tariff Scheme (CEPT) to reduce intra-ASEAN import tariffs for all tariff lines by 2018. For more information on custom tariff rates, please visit the Myanmar Customs Department page: http://www.myanmarcustoms.gov.mm
The government can levy three types of taxes on imports: import duties, commercial taxes, license fees. The Custom Department bases valuation on the customs, insurance and freight (CIF) value. For some commodities, the Customs Department uses its own reference guide to determine the value of imports. The guide lists prices in kyat based on the price of these goods in Myanmar, sometimes substantially lower or higher than their value outside Myanmar. The national portal can be accessed at: http://www.myanmartradeportal.gov.mm