Monday, 24 March 2014

Myanmar spends the least for education among ASEAN countries: AAM

Myanmar is the lowest spender in the education sector and the third lowest in the healthcare sector among the ASEAN countries, according to a recent survey released by Action Aid Myanmar (AAM).

According to the government budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year, the government allocated only 11.8 percent of the entire budget for all ministries to the Ministry of Education, and only 6.5 percent for healthcare.

“Myanmar’s national budget for education and healthcare is relatively low. According to our survey, people would like the government to spend more on such sectors. About 74 percent of the people questioned say they want the government to spend more on education. And 62 percent voted to spend more on healthcare. Around 24 percent voted to spend more on the national peace process and development of border areas,” said economist Bart Robertson from the AAM.

The survey collected public votes that can be helpful for planning an annual budget for the fiscal year 2014-15. Although the government spent less on the two sectors, it increased defence spending, which reached 29.1 percent of the entire national budget in the fiscal year 2013-14.

However, the government has spent more on education and healthcare during recent years compared with figures from previous years. It allocated 7.5 percent of the national budget for education in the 2013-14 fiscal year, up from 5.2 percent in the 2011 fiscal year. And it allocated 3.8 percent of the national budget for healthcare in the 2013-14 fiscal year, up from 1.3 percent in the 2011-12 fiscal year.

Meanwhile, according to a budget consultation seminar held at UMFCCI (Yangon), Myanmar’s deficit for the 2013-2014 fiscal year is Ks 2.91 billion, which is 4.94 percent of the GDP.

Although 4.94 percent is in deficit, the income for all ministries is reportedly higher than their spending and shows that government’s expenditure is soaring. While addressing the deficit, the government could face the impact of inflation on the other side. Up to now, the government has depended on state economic enterprises.

“The deficit was shown for the 2013-2014 fiscal year and the amount is over Ks 2.9 billion. That is 18 percent of the whole country’s expenditure, and it is a huge amount. The government solved the problem by printing more money. It seems there will be more money in short term because of printing, but this could be said to be bad for the long term,” said Robertson.

In observing the government expenditure and budget deficit for 2013-2014, one can find a 3.8-percent deficit for the Union government and a 1.1-percent deficit for state and regional governments. Therefore, in total, the budget deficit of Myanmar is 4.9 percent.

Income is reportedly 24.5 percent of GDP and expenditure is 29.4 percent of GDP.

source: Eleven Myanmar

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