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Asia   The Public Accounts Committee recommended

Myanmar to close 33 loss-making state-owned factories

U Aung MinLawmakers have suspended operations and new investment at 33 loss-making government-owned factories in Myanmar in an effort to trim the budget deficit.

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The Public Accounts Committee had recommended that 44 factories from the Ministry of Industry and Ministry of Electricity and Energy be temporarily shuttered, but lawmakers on March 15 agreed to allow 11 to remain in operation.

The measure is expected to save in excess of K100 billion (US$73 million), even though staff will continue to receive their salaries while the factories are closed.

The parliament and government have agreed to form a committee with a wide range of members to examine the factories and make a decision on their long-term future.

“We understand suspension is not the answer,” said U Aung Min, vice chair of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Joint Public Accounts Committee.

He said that if the study can find ways to reform the factories so they can contribute to the country then they will be allowed to resume operations.

“It will be decided whether [factories should] cooperate with private parties or utilise foreign investment or technology or continue on their own,” he told reporters after the session. It was unclear when the study would begin or how long it would take.

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