Wed, Jun 20, 2012 - Page 15 News List

Myanmar president vows second wave of reforms

DEVELOPMENT:Thein Sein said that the state’s role in a wide range of key industries would be reduced in a bid to attract foreign investment and triple GDP by 2015/2016


Myanmar wants to loosen the state’s grip on the economy, Myanmar President Thein Sein said yesterday, outlining what he called “a second wave of reforms” that would focus on the impoverished country’s development after decades of stagnation.

The former junta general, who is credited with spearheading the biggest economic overhaul in Myanmar since taking office, most notably bringing in a managed float of its currency, also said a new investment law would soon be enacted in parliament.

“In the first year of power, the national government has been speedily working on political reforms and national reconciliation,” Thein Sein said in a televised address.

“From this year onwards, we are working on a second wave of reforms which will focus especially on the development of the country and the public. On the other hand, we will continue to work on national reconciliation, national peace and stability and the rule of law, and the safety of the public,” he said.

Thein Sein, who took office 15 months ago after the military handed over power to his quasi-civilian government, said there was a need to consider reducing the state role in several key industries, including telecommunications, electricity, energy, forestry, education, health and “financial matters.”

“The privatization that is in the second wave of government reforms does not mean we are going to break them up and sell them,” he added.

He said the government aimed to triple GDP per capita by fiscal 2015/2016 and there was a need for more foreign help in terms of aid and expertise to boost the economy.

“If you observe developing nations, the government’s budget alone is not sufficient to achieve their development goals ... that alleviate poverty and require international grants, aid, loans and technical expertise,” he said.

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