MP raises question over the NPE’s loss

Soe Min Htike, Sithu
The session of Union Parliament on September 4. (Photo-Sithu)

Lower House MP Aye Mya Mya Myo representing Kyauktan Constituency questioned why the New Periodicals Enterprise (NPE) is running at a loss despite the NPE gaining the majority of market share and advertising share, at the session of Union parliament on September 4.

Yesterday, MP Aye Mya Mya Myo from the ruling National League for Democracy discussed the national planning bill for 2018-2019 fiscal year, the principle and concepts of the Union budget bill, the projects and revenues and expenditures.

“The NPE under the Ministry of Information submitted the budgeted expenditures of Ks21.537 billion and the budgeted loss of Ks1.158 billion. The NPE uses State-owned sources, building and lands. The government has appointed staff using State budget. The NPE has owned the biggest market share. I would like to question why the NPE is running at a loss even though it generates a large sum of money from advertising incomes. The NPE’s management needs should be reviewed. State-owned media is also not in a position to make effective response to the world media’s one-sided attacks on Myanmar about the Rakhine issue. It is the biggest loss to Myanmar,” she criticized.

MP Ye Htut from Sagaing Region Constituency-5 said: “In the democratic countries, there are no State-owned newspapers and media. All State-owned media should be privatized.”

According to the Union budget for 2018-2019 FY, only 22 out of 32 State-owned economic entities run at a profit. The NPE under the Ministry of Information is one of ten loss-making State-owned entities.  According to the report submitted by the Joint Public Account Committee, the Information Ministry’s budgeted income, Ks-20.374 billion, the budgeted expenditure, Ks-21.532 million and the budget loss of Ks-1.158 billion.

The Joint Public Account Committee scrutinized the budgets asked by the Ministry of Information for 2018-2019 FY. The Joint Public Account Committee suggested Ks-57,494.512 million of revenue expenditures earmarked by the Information Ministry should not be reduced. But Ks-441.900 million should be detected from the capital expenditures of Ks-27,283.092 million.

Aung Hla Tun, Deputy Information Minister told journalists after the session of the upper house parliament on January 29: “I agreed to the points the MP said. There are no newspapers in the democratic countries and the EU countries. Some countries do not even have an information ministry. But it is not a real role model for us to aspire now. Our democracy is just three years old. There should be an information ministry during the transitional period. In addition, State-owned newspapers should exist to a certain extent. The most important thing is State-owned newspapers should really reflect the views of the public and needs to effectively serve as a bridge between the public and government and between the country and the international eyes. At the time being, the ministry has a plan to prioritize this idea. Our country needs State-owned newspapers according to the country’s situation. It will develop when the country’s democracy becomes mature. There will be no State-owned in the long-term. Now private media is still young. Private newspapers that emerged since the previous three years are facing difficulties. We need to give encouragement to private newspapers in order that they can survive independently. We need to promote the quality of State-owned newspapers.”