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CESD, in partnership with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), undertook research into the existing state of subnational public finances and intergovernmental relationships to help build knowledge on the current state of fiscal decentralization in Myanmar, and to promote dialogue on the challenges and opportunities faced by Myanmar’s Union and subnational governments with public financial management reform.
The Open Myanmar Initiative (OMI), a nonprofit orginization promoting the right to information and education, recently launched their online budget dashboard, providing access to up-to-date budget data from the Union and State and Region governments. The project was lead by Giles Dickenson-Jones, CESD Research Fellow, as part of the State and Region Public Finances in Myanmar report.
The initial research paper on state and region governments, prepared by CESD and The Asia Foundation (TAF) and released in September 2013, continues to support discussions on the operations of state and region governments, and the challenges and opportunities they face. The state and region governments were established under the 2008 Constitution and experienced significant changes to their composition following the 2015 elections.
CESD’s Myanmar Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (MEITI) team provided expertise and support to recent training in Nay Pyi Taw on resource governance and contract negotiation in the extractive industries. Myanmar has extensive natural resources. How these natural resources are managed, and how contracts are negotiated, will determine whether they deliver benefits and inclusive development to Myanmar.
In May 2016, CESD brought together representatives from Hlegu Township’s farming, labour, education, and business associations, media and civil society for a round-table discussion on Hlegu’s economic development. The discussion was part of CESD’s work with the International Growth Centre to undertake research and provide recommendations to address development challenges in Hlegu Township.
In a collection of papers on Myanmar’s financial sector, CESD’s Giles Dickenson-Jones and Cindy Joelene provide a summary of the fiscal structures at the state and region (subnational) level, highlighting the relevance of Myanmar’s political, administrative and economic systems to public financial management reforms.
In a collection of papers on Myanmar’s financial sector, CESD Research Associate, Cindy Joelene, looks at the recent history of fiscal decentralisation in Myanmar, and provides recommendations on how to improve this ongoing process.
The Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) released it’s publication, “Sharing the wealth: A roadmap for distributing Myanmar’s natural resource revenues” in February 2016. A number of CESD’s research papers, notably on governance structures and arrangements, are referenced in the publication.
Promoting dialogue on effective public financial management across union, state and region governments
Recent reforms in Myanmar have lead to state and region governments having greater financial resources and responsibilities. Research undertaken by CESD, working with Ministry of Finance and supported by the Japan International Coopration Agency (JICA), supports greater transparency on how states and regions understand and undertake these responsibilities. The research findings, and policy recommendations, were discussed at a workshop for public finance management officials in Nay Pyi Taw on 17 February 2016.
CESD’s research involved interviews with a range of union, state and region public financial management officials in late 2015 and early 2016. The outcomes from the targeted interviews enabled a greater understanding of how public financial management operates at each level of government, the challenges faced, the important relationships used, and the governance and financial transparency arrangements in place. The results from the survey, and the CESD and JICA recommendations to improve public financial management in Myanmar, were presented for discussion at a workshop for public officials in Nay Pyi Taw on 17 February 2016.
Dr Zaw Oo, CESD Executive Director and host of the workshop, said that it was important to bring public financial management representatives across the different levels of government together to discuss the research results. “The workshop further informs the collective understanding of Myanmar’s more decentralised public financial management system. Participants have been encouraged to share their successes and challenges, and focus on future goals and reforms.”
The research into public financial management and subsequent workshop were sponsored by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and support an agreement between JICA and the Ministry of Finance (MOF) to further improve implementation of Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) projects in various states and regions of Myanmar.
Download a copy of the press release via the following links:
The press release, and additional photos, are also available on the JICA website.