‘Inclusive growth and poverty reduction key to growth’ – expert


Deputy Commerce Minister U Aung Htoo speaking at the forum. Photo courtesy of MOI

"Inclusive growth and poverty reduction are key to growth," says U Myo Myint, Chairman of the Renaissance Institute Myanmar.

U Myo Myint was speaking during a session entitled, “Economic Transition: from central command to market economy,” part of the Myanmar Democratic Transition Forum currently being held in Nay Pyi Taw.

The forum, headlined on Friday by Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and Information Minister Dr Pe Myint, is examining Myanmar’s path from a military dictatorship to full democracy.

A crucial component of this democratic transition is rolling out a free and fair economic platform after decades dominated by what has been dubbed “crony capitalism”.

"Revenue transfer key to economic decentralization that is key to economic growth," told the assembly.

"Government departments reluctant to release information on budget allocations and revenue transfer," U Myo Myint added.

Central planning is important.

"Myanmar needs clear, time-bound action plans to grow," Dr Thein Swe, former World Bank and ADB Director told the forum.

Adding some levity to the discussion, Dr Thein Swe said: "My friends say sometime Myanmar is NATO - no action, talk only. That must change. "

He said there was a need for a private-public partnership, “not a sell-out to cronies.”

“We want neither capitalism, nor socialism, but the middle path," Dr Thein Swe said.

A crucial part of effective economic development involves upgrading the agricultural sector. But it is important to recognize some of the challenges.

"We must assess possible impact of climate change on Myanmar's agriculture," Deputy Commerce Minister U Aung Htoo told the forum.

One panelist highlighted the one of the difficulties faced, the limited land-holding of many farmers.

"Seventy-five percent of  farmers own below five acres , these small farmers suffer many problems , that must be sorted out to bring down poverty," U Lay Nyunt, a member of the Central Economic Committee of the National League for Democracy (NLD).

Deputy Planning Minister U Set Aung argued for massive action.

"I don't want gradual change. Look at Vietnam, its big-bang policy worked, but after some struggle,'' he said. 

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