May 5, 2014

Myanmar gets more support from world financial institutions

Myanmar has obtained a total of 55 million U.S. dollars in financial support from the World Bank (WB), Australia and the United Kingdom in April for the modernization of its public financial management system.

The 55 million dollars include a 30-million-U.S.-dollar credit from the International Development Association (IDA) approved by the WB, 8.5 million dollars from the Australian government and 16. 5 million dollars from the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (UKAID).

The project is aimed at improving the efficiency and accountability of the country's public service delivery and accounting and reporting of budget execution through more strategic planning and budgeting process and more credible budget management system.

The project will ultimately benefit the people of Myanmar by improving both the quality and quantity of public services such as education, healthcare and water sanitation, said the international

financial institutions.

The WB had earlier announced provision of a separate 2 billion dollars of multi-year development package for Myanmar during a visit to Myanmar by its President Jim Yong Kim at the end of January. The package includes projects designed to help improve agriculture, access to energy and health services, support for the country's reform and other key development priorities.

The plan was mainly aimed at achieving the target of universal health coverage as well as access to electricity by 2030.

An estimated 75 percent of Myanmar's rural population lacks access to quality healthcare, and high costs place most essential services out of reach for many Myanmar families who live below the poverty line, the WB indicated.

Of the 2 billion dollars' support, 1 billion dollars will be invested in Myanmar's power sector including generation, transmission and distribution over the next five years.

With this funding from the WB and the private sector, Myanmar could ensure access to electricity for 50 percent of its population in 2020. Currently, 70 percent of Myanmar's people lack access to electricity.

Kim stressed that investing in Myanmar's electricity potential will not only improve the lives of its citizens, but will also create a better business environment, which he believed in turn will create jobs and help the country prosper and reduce poverty.

The WB also plans to invest 200 million dollars to support the government's effort to achieve universal health coverage.

In the agriculture sector, the WB expressed readiness to help Myanmar with technical assistance and funding to improve its agricultural productivity.

The sector, which accounts for 43 percent of Myanmar's gross domestic product (GDP), generates about 54 percent of employment and provides livelihood to more than 70 percent of the population.

Meanwhile, Myanmar's development partners have agreed to prioritize the development of specific sectors including achievable programs under the Economic and Social Reform Framework.

Moreover, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) also has pledged to provide a new loan of 60 million U.S. dollars to Myanmar to be used in the power sector.

ADB's pledge came when the bank's president, Haruhiko Kuroda, visited Nay Pyi Taw, offering Myanmar assistance in infrastructure development in terms of technology, finance, communication and sustainable energy.

After Myanmar's settlement of 512 million U.S. dollars' debt in January 2013 owed to the ADB, the bank has resumed social and economic assistance to help Myanmar build strong foundation for poverty alleviation scheme and reform process.

Source: Xinhua