12 July 2019
Myanmar have rich natural resources and rich forestry and with this big forest Myanmar has also a responsibility to preserve it. The finding stated that total of USD 1.3 billion revenues was collected by the central government during the fiscal years of 2014 and 2015. This accounts for 9% of total government revenue reported but only 1% of GDP. The state-owned Myanma Timeber Enterprise (MTE) has the exclusive right to harvest, process and sell timber. However the MTE reports that it subcontracted two-thirds of the harvesting to the private sector. Yet MTE was the source of almost all forestry-related revenue reported by the government. The private sector was the source of only 0.7% of the total government forestry-related revenue-an indication of low profit margins or tax evasion. The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) released its findings on forestry reports for the fiscal years 2014 and 2015 on 11 July 2019 at Sule Shangri-la hotel in Yangon.
Speaking on making the reports on forestry products, U Soe Yi, Assistant General Manager of Myanma Timber Enterprise said, “The reason for making yearly reports is accordance with the regulations drawn by EITI which has over 51 member nations. If country which has rich natural resources and the management on these natural resources is weak, the revenue collected will go only to a group of people whereas the public are not getting any profits from it. And this creates conflict and bribery. Therefore by joining EITI, the sectors like forestry, natural resources will be managed properly and we’ll have other advantages as well.”
According to 2014-2015 fiscal years reports for the forestry department, the total revenue amount of 714,663million Kyat revenue were collected which contributed to 0.2% of the nation’s GDP. Myanma Timber Enterprise also reported that Myanma Timber Enterprise contributed to 54% of teak products for the fiscal years 2014-15 and subcontracted sectors contributed to 46% but for the fiscal years 2015-16, Myanma Timber Enterprise contributed to 30% of the hardwood products and subcontracted private sectors contributed to 70% of the products. The report by EITI also stated that Sagaing region contributed to 46% of national teak products and 66% of hardwood followed by Shan state which contributed 27% of teak products and 6% of hardwood.
Speaking at the event U Ye Myint Swe, Deputy Minister for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation said, “The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation has been administrating Myanma Forest since the British Colony time for over 100 years. As the forestry plays an important role in supplying for the economy and basic needs of the people, and preserving river and watershed also contribute a lot to the existence of the weather. The forest is also providing the service to all the birds in the air and animals and the forest is a home for all of them. Therefore for the preservation of the forest in Myanmar, forestry department and Myanma Timber Enterprise which are under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation are working to preserve the forest.”