Realigning Spending Policies for Shared Prosperity in Myanmar

April 27, 2016

Myanmar’s Public Expenditure Review provides reform options to improve key public services

YANGON, April 27, 2016 – Enhancing the quality and efficiency of public spending for education and healthcare, and prioritizing resources in the Union Budget are critical to improving living standards and incomes for the people of Myanmar, according to the findings of a recently completed Public Expenditure Review. The Ministry of Planning and Finance and World Bank Group presented the report in Nay Pyi Taw today, launching a comprehensive analysis of spending policies between 2009 and 2013.

“Recent reforms have opened up the opportunity for Myanmar to deliver better services to all of its population,” said U Maung Maung Win, Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Planning and Finance. “While the report shows that these reforms have started to produce results, it also identifies reform options on how we can further improve the efficiency of public spending in order to enhance the quality of key public services.”

Policy reforms have increased spending for education and health care, and are starting to show results, according to the World Bank expenditure review. Primary and secondary school fees have been eliminated, more children are now attending school, and 79,000 more teachers have been hired.

Health reforms have made essential medicines and selected healthcare services available for free to children, pregnant mothers and to patients needing emergency care – this has increased public budget spending significantly and should reduce steep out of pocket costs that families pay for health services.

The report identifies fundamental shifts in Union Budget policies and recommends ways to further align these policies to development priorities. Among the findings of the report:

  • The overall revenue base of the Union Budget is gradually improving. Economic recovery, one-off measures including telecom license sales, and long term reforms on tax policy and administration have improved general government revenue from 6 to 11 percent of GDP between 2009 and 2014.
  • After years of historically low levels of health spending, reforms have improved and expanded access and affordability of health care. These policies have been financed through a nine-fold increase in Ministry of Health spending between 2009/10 and 2013/14.

"The Public Expenditure Review is a contribution to enhanced budget transparency in Myanmar and to a vigorous local policy dialogue on Union Budget issues, and highlights the challenges in building the foundation for shared prosperity,” said Abdoulaye Seck, World Bank Country Manager for Myanmar. “An action plan based on the report’s findings and recommendations could have a pivotal impact on the public sector’s ability to promote inclusive growth.”

In 2015, the World Bank Group prepared a Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for Myanmar for 2015 to 2017. The Framework outlines how the global knowledge, financing, and convening services of the World Bank Group can support Myanmar and its people in ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity.

Media Contacts
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Kyaw Soe Lynn
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Carl Hanlon
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