Lower House lawmaker blames govt for low transparency

Soe Min Htike and Sithu
Lower House MP Shwe Ko holds a discussion in parliament on August 27

The government has little transparency and that ongoing situations should be publicised, said Lower House lawmaker Shwe Ko from Kyaukpadaung constituency.

The MP made the remark in the discussion of a report submitted by the Public Joint Account Committee on the findings of the financial report for 2016-2017 fiscal year and remarks during a parliamentary session of Union Parliament held in Nay Pyi Taw on August 27.

In discussing problems facing the Ministry of Electricity and Energy over electricity charges, the MP described the problem as usual and stressed the need to have transparency and discuss the use of necessary technology.

"Regarding electricity rates, there should be transparency. The situations we are facing must be published to the public. Frankly speaking, our government has had little transparency. Our responsibility is for the sake of the people. So, we should let the public know about ongoing situations. Transparency weakens doubt and promotes understanding. Mandalay Region chief minister Dr Zaw Myint Maung said the government would be able to do things only with the support of the people. Paying attention to what he said, I would like to highlight issues revolving around transparency," said MP Shwe Ko.

He quoted the report as saying that a loss of one hour could mean in total billions of kyats for the country. He said problems could stem from weak experience and technology. But action should be taken against any intentional malicious acts, he pointed out.

"I will present a case that happened in our township. After conducting surprise checks on a village, authorities cut off electricity from 13 homes. Those homes had paid K100,000-K300,000 in deposit to the electrification committee. They pay K3,000 every month. Following a complaint by a person due to unfairness, EPC (electric power corporation) checked and cut off the electricity. A fine of K50,000 to K280,000 had to be paid. But there was no action against the electrification committee and those laying cable lines. This is unfair," said the MP.

In his discussion of the losses the government is facing in the electricity sector, Shwe Ko said 80 percent of the whole country enjoy electricity and there was a loss of over K40,000 million in 2016-2017 fiscal year. Such losses resulted from far lower rate of electricity fees. The government has to buy one unit of electricity for K146.09 but it is sold to the people for just K52-K57. He also pointed out other reasons for losses such as malpractices and negligence. He then called for systematic supervision of the electricity sector.