Myanmar's budget deficit has grown over 10,00 billion kyat within four years it was revealed on May 24 at a post budget discussion held at the Federation of Chambers and Commerce Industry (FCCI) in Yangon.
Economists and scholars raised concerns about the deficit as the size is almost on a level with the country’s GDP.
Budget Expert, U Zaw Pe Win said, “Within the four-year period since the current government took office, the [total] budget deficit is 10,000 billion kyat, so the country’s economy is in a very worrying situation. The amount of trade is still not huge. And the amount of tax is still not large.”
He added that the current civilian government’s budget deficit in the four-year period could become a burden for future governments.
U Maung Toe, the secretary of the Joint Public Accounts Committee of the Union Parliament said, “According to the 2008 Constitution, there is no budget committee, so the parliament cannot fully audit the budget. Now there is more transparency than earlier, but the situation is not satisfying.”
Some political parties have criticised the 2008 constitutional law that allows an auditors' group to examine the budget drafted by certain ministries because only the President may pick this group.
U Han Shwe, spokesman of the National Unity Party, said, “The auditors appointed by the President audit the budget drawn up by the government, and it is not completely appropriate. Although they said it is independent, they can be influenced.”
Myanmar’s budget deficit was more than 1,629 billion kyat in the 2011-2012 fiscal year; growing to 1,250 billion kyat in 2012-2013 fiscal year; 755 billion in 2013-2014 and 2,551 billion in 2014-2015. The budget is likely to be more than 3,600 billion kyat in 2015-2016, said economists and scholars at the FCCI event.
U Zaw Pe Win (the principal of the Human Development Institute), economist U Saw Naing (Applied Economics), Daw Nyo Nyo (Yangon Region MP), Thin, U Maung Toe (secretary of Joint Public Accounts Committee of Lower House), Border Trade Department retired director U Myint Aung, and Edward Ziwa Naing (the director of National Economic and Social Advisory Council) led the roundtable. Mizzima Editor-in-Chief U Soe Myint acted as moderator.
Economists, political parties, MPs, civil society organizations and media persons held talks with the panel after the hearing.
In March, a pre-budget discussion was held before the 2015-2016 budget was approved.