Myanmar regime leader Min Aung Hlaing offers cash rewards to traditional artists in Novosibirsk during his visit to Russia on July 16. / Cincds
By The Irrawaddy July 23, 2022
Coup leader’s electric vehicle fantasy has come true
The military regime still cannot provide round-the-clock electricity even in the commercial capital Yangon, but that hasn’t stopped it from forming a national electric car committee in a bid to fulfill one of the fantasies the most tenacious of Min Aung Hlaing. .
According to the July edition of the Gazette of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, the national committee for the development of electric vehicles and related enterprises, chaired by Defense Minister General Mya Tun Oo, a member of the he governing body of the regime, the State Administration Council (SAC), was formed in June.
While it is still unclear when the electricity supply will be restored, General Mya Tun Oo and the vice chairman of the committee, ex-Admiral Tin Aung San, who is also a member of the SAC and Minister of Transport of the regime, have even drawn up plans to promote their “castle in the air” project.
These include waiving toll and parking fees for electric vehicles; install charging stations in shopping centres, bus stops and car parks; and the construction of roads and separate parking lots for vehicles.
In April, Omni Focus Co. Ltd., owned by the grandsons of the late military dictator Ne Win, presented plans for operating electric buses in Tin Aung San. Meanwhile, automakers including Japan’s Suzuki and Korea’s Hyundai have suspended operations in Myanmar due to the regime’s misguided economic policies.
The economic lessons of Min Aung Hlaing
While Myanmar has to import almost everything, from medicine to fuel, junta leader Min Aung Hlaing, like his predecessors, plans to build an economy based on agriculture and livestock. Myanmar has rich agricultural land and abundant rivers and streams, the junta leader boasted at a meeting of his regime’s governing body, the SAC, on Thursday.
Myanmar’s economy is in recession due to the COVID-19 outbreak and post-coup unrest. The rising cost of living is taking a heavy toll on the population, with the prices of fuel, cooking oil and medicine – which Myanmar has to import – having soared. Unemployment rose, as did the crime rate. To make matters worse, the regime’s economic policies force local businesses to suspend operations and foreign companies to leave the country, and commodity prices rose further as the regime introduced its latest restrictions on the US dollar.
While the junta boss says Myanmar has rich agricultural land, the area sown to paddy has dropped significantly this year due to political instability and rising fertilizer and fuel prices.
The outlook for Myanmar’s economy remains weak, according to the World Bank, and the country tops the Fragile States Index released by the US-based Fund for Peace.
The junta leader’s bad habit: criticizing the NLD
More than a year after the military coup, it has become increasingly clear that Min Aung Hlaing is really only good at killing people, harming the country and speaking ill of the National League for democracy (NLD). Whenever he visits military units across the country, he never fails to speak ill of the toppled ruling party. But recently, he even took the opportunity to do it in a foreign land. During his recent visit to Russia, he brought on his special MAI flight traditional Myanmar snacks, including Mohinga, to distribute to military personnel undergoing training in the country. Snacks were shared and Mohinga was cooked and given to the trainees, according to an article in the July 21 issues of the junta-run newspapers.
Min Aung Hlaing had to join the Burmese army, whose fighting capacity and morale are in decline. Even though he was in Russia, he ordered local commanders back home to throw parties for their respective units in a show of fatherly benevolence. In Russia, more than 120 Burmese military trainees received Mohinga and traditional snacks, along with Min Aung Hlaing’s account of how the NLD government broke laws and rigged the 2020 general election, forcing the Burmese army to seize power and “save the country”.
Soldiers play bankers at CBM
As Myanmar grapples with a currency crisis thanks to the regime’s financial mismanagement, six lieutenant colonels were appointed deputy directors at the Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) in June, according to the Union Gazette recently. published.
It has become customary after the coups in Myanmar for the military to intervene in areas they know nothing about. Myanmar’s economy has repeatedly failed since the 1962 coup due to military interference in the economic and financial sectors.
Recently, the junta-controlled CBM ordered companies and individual borrowers to suspend foreign loan repayments, both in interest and principal.
Additionally, the regime seized US dollars from companies registered with the Myanmar Investment Commission ordering them to convert all their foreign currencies into kyats. To preserve the country’s dwindling foreign currency reserves, it also imposed restrictions on import permits.
All of these measures will only further worsen Myanmar’s economy, which has been collapsing since the coup, and push more people into poverty. The World Bank said in its latest report that recent policy changes have added challenges for businesses. Onerous business licensing requirements, the abandonment of the managed floating exchange rate regime and the imposition of foreign currency refund rules have led to shortages of key imported inputs and held back exporters, he said. declared.