Burma or Myanmar president
has repeatedly said that the country is right on the reform path since he took
office in March 2011. However,
the grassroots feel that they are out of the reform process. It is an
obvious example that the electrification distribution never reached to
such a situation, self-styled
reformist President U Thein Sein sent a letter dated 14 November to the
parliament, mentioning electricity payment hikes will not be cut and will go
into operation in the next fiscal year, as reported by media. His reason is
that the increasing fees focus on a long-term preparation for the benefit of
the citizens as well as growth of the country's economy.
President's letter seems to be overpowering upon the Parliament on this matter
of electricity fees hiking.
According to the Daily Eleven, Members of Parliament said that the topic needs
the people's agreement in order to make judgment for hiking payment for
"What the parliament said is that
the electricity ministry is required to submit a review about the issue to the
parliament at the beginning of the next fiscal year. But the president's
message says the hikes will surely begin in the fiscal year. It means that no
review is needed from the parliament. And my view is different. We will discuss
more about the issue at the parliament," said MP Aye Mouk for Ma Hlaing
Constituency. He submitted the urgent proposal about the hikes to the
parliament, the Daily Eleven said.
The parliament decided on November
17 to turn down the government's plan to increase electricity fees until the
next fiscal year. It is likely to proceed only after it has been improved at
the parliament session. The electricity
ministry permitted local private companies to distribute electricity in 84
townships before this July.
For the time being, the parliament
has temporarily suspended the electricity price hike by the Ministry for
Electric Power as an answer to the proposal urging to slash the electricity
price hike. The parliament made the decision following consumers' complaint
against the measure introduced by the authorities, adding the problem will maintain
under assessment until the start of the 2014-15 fiscal year.
As said by the state media, only 30
per cent of the total population of Myanmar currently has access to electricity
while the remaining 70 per cent in rural areas are still without electricity.
As regions of northern Kachin State, some regions in the northern part of
Sagaing Region, the whole Rakhine State, eastern part of Shan State, Taninthayi
Region and Chin State and some regions and townships in Kayin State and
Ayeyawady Region are not included in electricity supply system.
People in those regions are to rely
on diesel-fired power stations that can produce electricity for two or three
hours a day and they have to pay a minimum of K 460 to a maximum of K 700 per
With the aim of ensuring economic
sustainability and the development of industrial sector of the country and
bringing more electricity for the people in regions and states which are
without electricity, arrangements are being made to build power plants and
power lines, the state-run media said.
People are never pleased with more costly electricity. Therefore, a gradual set of connections and instantaneous improvements in responsibility may make the government's policy easier to make clear and trust.
At the same time, Myanmar Minister
of Electric Power U Khin Maung Soe has said the requirement to build more power
plants in the country to meet public demand, as the state media reported on 13
Nov. 2013. While
electrification, especially of rural areas, is of primary concern, issues of
sustainability and protection of the environment must be considered at the same
Washington DC ceremony, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim and Myanmar's
Minister of Finance, U Win Shein, joined by World Bank's East Asia Pacific
Regional Vice President Axel van Trotsenburg, signed a US$140 million credit
agreement to support the installation of a modern, high-efficiency 106 mw
electricity power plant in Mon State.
Good news is that on 12 October 2013, Myanmar signed agreements with the World Bank Group designed to give a critical boost to the economic development and growing international economic engagement of the South East Asian country. Myanmar took an important step to full membership in the World Bank Group's Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). Minister of Finance U Win Shein signed the convention to accede to MIGA on behalf of the Government of Myanmar, joined by MIGA Executive Vice President Keiko Honda.
This investment is part of Myanmar's power expansion plan and the cornerstone of the World Bank Group's support for Myanmar's energy sector. The project, replacing aging gas turbines with new units, and producing 250 percent more electricity with the same amount of gas, is the first step to bringing more and cleaner electricity to the people of Myanmar, according to the World Bank Group.
In comparison with the neighboring
countries, the electrification rate of Malaysia, Thailand and
Vietnam are 99.4 %, 99.3 % and 97.6 % respectively while Myanmar's rate is just
13 %. Even Bangladesh's rate is 41 %, in keeping with the World Bank's data in
2009. More than a quarter of Myanmar's people live below
the poverty line, and the electrification rate is among the lowest in Southeast
Myanmar's electrification distribution is vital to alleviating poverty.
Moreover, it may well help practical improvement concerning the medium and
long-term development of the nation. Electrification is a critical obligation,
without which the country will be hopelessly in an inferior position in its
efforts to proceed competently.
The Myanmar public
advancements also bank on electrification, without which health, education, and
other essential services certainly suffer shortcoming. There are many points to
the energy branch to be addressed at length and ever more in an attempt to
guarantee competent and helpful use of natural resources.
Disappointingly, President U Thein Sein's message to the last parliamentary session refusing the withdrawal of electricity-price hiking seems against not only the people's will but also his own reform scheme of poverty alleviation.