President Obama at Vendors Fair in Burma
A hotel employee models earrings for President Barack Obama at a vendors fair at the Kempinski Hotel Nay Pyi Taw, Naypyitaw, Burma, Nov. 13, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
ျမန္မာ့ေက်ာက္မ်က္ အေမရိကန္ႏွင့္ ဥေရာမေစ်းကြက္ ပို႔ႏိုင္ေတာ့မည္
အေမရိကန္က ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံအေပၚ အေရးယူပိတ္ဆို႕မွဳ ပယ္ဖ်က္သည့္ထဲတြင္ ေက်ာက္စိမ္း၊ ေက်ာက္မ်က္က႑ႏွင့္ ပတ္သက္၍ ပိတ္ဆို႕ထားမွဳမ်ားလည္းပါ၀င္ရာ အေမရိကန္ႏွင့္အေနာက္ႏိုင္ငံမ်ားေစ်းကြက္သို႕ေရာင္းခ်ႏိုင္ေတာ့မည္ျဖစ္သည္။
အေမရိကန္ျပည္ေထာင္စုက ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံအေပၚ အေရးယူပိတ္ဆို႕မွဳမ်ားကိုသမၼတဘာရက္အိုဘားမားက ၂၀၁၆ေအာက္တုိဘာ ၇ ရက္စြဲျဖင့္ လက္မွတ္ေရးထုိးရုတ္သိမ္းလုိက္သည္။
အဆိုပါ ရုတ္သိမ္းမွဳတြင္ အေမရိကန္အစိုးရ အဆက္ဆက္က ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံအေပၚခ်မွတ္ခဲ႕ေသာ ဥပေဒမ်ားျဖစ္သည့္ ႏိုင္ငံတကာ အေရးေပၚစီးပြားေရးဆိုင္ရာဥပေဒ (International Emergency Economic Power Act)၊ ၂၀၀၃ ခုႏွစ္ကခ်မွတ္ခဲ႕သည္လြတ္လပ္မွဳႏွင့္ ဒီမိုကေရစီအက္ဥပေဒ (Freedom and Democracy Act)၊ ၂၀၀၈ခုႏွစ္က စစ္အာဏာရွင္စနစ္ႏွင့္ ဒီမိုကေရစီဆန္႕က်င္မွဳအတြက္ ခ်မွတ္ခဲ႕သည့္ Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE (JADE Act)၊ ၁၉၉၇ ခုႏွစ္ကခ်မွတ္ခဲ႕ေသာ (Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act) မ်ားပါ၀င္ခဲ့ျပီး ယခုပယ္ပ်က္သြားမည္ျဖစ္သည္။
ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံမွ အေမရိကန္သို႕တင္သြင္းေသာ ေက်ာက္စိမ္းႏွင့္ ပတၱျမား ပါ၀င္သည့္လက္၀တ္ရတနာမ်ားအေပၚ တားဆီးပိတ္ပင္မွႈႏွင့္အတူ ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံႏွင့္ ဘဏ္လုပ္ငန္း၊ ဘ႑ာေငြ လႊဲေျပာင္းမွုလုပ္ငန္းဆိုင္ရာ ဒဏ္ခတ္ပိတ္ဆို႕မွုအားလံုး ရုတ္သိမ္းမွုတြင္ပါ၀င္ခဲ့ရာ ထို႕အတြက္ ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံ၏ သယံဇာတ ေက်ာက္စိမ္း၊ ေက်ာက္မ်က္မ်ားကို တရုတ္ေစ်းကြက္ တစ္ခုတည္းကိုသာ အားကိုးေနရျခင္းမွ ယခု အေမရိကန္ႏွင့္ အေနာက္ႏိုင္ငံမ်ားသို႕ ေစ်းကြက္က်ယ္ျပန္႔စြာ ေရာင္းခ်သြားႏိုင္မည္ျဖစ္ျပီး ေငြးေၾကးစီးဆင္းမွုတြင္လည္းပိုမိုေကာင္မြန္လာမည္ဟု ေက်ာက္စိမ္း၊ ေက်ာက္မ်က္ အသိုင္းအ၀ိုင္းကေျပာသည္။
အခုေလာေလာဆယ္ တရုတ္တစ္ခုတည္းအားကုိးရတယ္ဆိုေတာ့ အေနာက္ႏိုင္ငံေစ်းကြက္ပြင့္ရင္ ပိုျပီးေတာ့ အဆင္ေျပမယ္ထင္တယ္။ ကုန္ေခ်ာတရားပို႕ျပီး ေမွာင္ခိုေပ်ာက္သြားရင္ေတာ့ ပိုေကာင္းမွာေပါ့။
အေခ်ာထည္မ်ားမ်ား ထုတ္လုပ္ႏိုင္ရမယ္။ ေလာေလာဆယ္ ေက်ာက္မ်က္ေစ်းကြက္ေပ်ာက္ေနတယ္။ ဆန္ရွင္ဖြင့္ရင္ အားလံုးျပန္ေကာင္းလမယ္လုိ႕ ေမွ်ာ္လင့္တယ္။ ကုမၼဏီမ်ားအေနနဲ႕လည္း တစ္ခါတည္းဗံုးေပါလေအာမဟုတ္ပဲနဲ႕ ခ်င့္ခ်င့္ခ်ိန္ခ်ိန္နဲ႕ စည္းကမ္းတက်လုပ္မယ္။ ထိန္းထိန္းသိမ္းသိမ္းလုပ္မွ ျဖစ္မယ္။ ကုန္ေခ်ာဆုိရင္ႏိုင္ငံအတြက္ ပိုေကာင္းမယ္ ဟု ေက်ာက္စိမ္းတူးေဖာ္ေရး လုပ္ငန္းရွင္ ဦးေဇာ္ရွန္လံုကေျပာသည္။
ျမန္မာ့ ေက်ာက္မ်က္ျပပြဲမ်ား၌ ေရာင္းခ်ရာတြင္ ယူရိုေငြေၾကး တစ္မ်ိဳးတည္းကိုသာ သံုးစြဲ၍ အေရာင္းအ၀ယ္ျပဳလုပ္ၾကျပီး ယခုအေမရိကန္အေရးယူပိတ္ဆို႕မွု ပယ္ဖ်က္လုိက္ျခင္းေၾကာင့္ အေမရိကန္ေငြေၾကးကိုပါသံုးစြဲလာႏိုင္မည္ျဖစ္ျပီး ဘဏ္လုပ္ငန္းဆိုင္ရာ ေငြးေၾကးစီးဆင္မွုတြင္လည္း ေကာင္းလာမည္ဟု ျမန္မာ့ေက်ာက္မ်က္ရတနာ လုပ္ငန္းရွင္မ်ားအသင္းခ်ဳပ္ အတြင္းေရးမွဳး ဦးထြန္းလွေအာင္ေျပာသည္။
ထို႕ျပင္ ယခင္ကတည္းက ျမန္မာ့ေက်ာက္စိမ္းအား တရုတ္ႏိုင္ငံက ၀ယ္ယူေနျခင္းေၾကာင့္ ေရာင္းခ်ေနရေသာ္လည္း ယခု ပတၱျမား၊ နီလာမ်ားကို အေမရိကန္သို႕ တင္ပို႕ႏိုင္ေတာ့မည္ျဖစ္ျပီး ေနာင္တြင္ သယံဇာတကိုထိန္းသိမ္းႏိုင္ရန္ ေက်ာက္စိမ္းအားကုန္ၾကမ္းမ်ားအတုိင္းတင္ပို႕မွုကိုေလွ်ာ့ခ်၍ ကုန္ေခ်ာထုတ္လုပ္ တင္ပို႕သြားမည္ဟု ၄င္းကဆုိသည္။
လြန္ခဲ့ေသာ တစ္ပတ္က အေမရိကန္ေက်ာက္မ်က္ကုန္သြယ္ ေရးအသင္း (AGTA) ႏွင့္ သယံဇာတႏွင့္ ပတ္၀န္းက်င္ထိန္းသိမ္းေရး ၀န္ၾကီးဌာနတို႕ ေတြ႕ဆံုမွုတြင္ ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံအေနျဖင့္ စီးပြားေရးအဖြဲ႕ OECD အတိုင္း လုိက္နာရန္ ေျပာဆုိသြားေသာ္လည္းလက္ရိွျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံမွာ OECD အဖြဲ႕၀င္ႏိုင္ငံမဟုတ္ေသးေပ။ နည္းပညာအကူအညီေပးရန္ႏွင့္ ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံဘက္မွလည္းလာမည့္ ႏို၀င္ဘာလတြင္ျပဳလုပ္မည့္ ၂၀၁၆ခုႏွစ္၊ ႏွစ္လယ္ ေက်ာက္မ်က္ရတနာျပပြဲတြင္ လာေရာက္၀ယ္ယူႏိုင္ရန္ အေမရိကန္ေက်ာက္မ်က္အသင္းကလာေရာက္ ၀ယ္ယူႏိုင္ရန္တရား၀င္ဖိတ္ေခၚသြားမည္ဟု သယံဇာတႏွင့္ပတ္၀န္းက်င္ထိန္းသိမ္းေရး၀န္ၾကီးဌာန၊ သတၳဳတြင္းဦးစီးဌာန၊ ညႊန္ၾကားေရးမွဴးခ်ဳပ္ ဦး၀င္းထိန္ကဆိုသည္။
ျမန္မာႏုိင္ငံတြင္ ေက်ာက္မ်က္ျပပြဲေရာင္းခ်မွု အပါအ၀င္တရား၀င္လုိင္စင္ျဖင့္ ေရာင္းခ်ေသာ ေက်ာက္မ်က္ရတနာဆုိင္မ်ား၊ မိုးကုတ္တြင္ျပဳလုပ္ေသာေဒသခံမ်ား ေရာင္းခ်သည့္ေက်ာက္မ်က္ျပပြဲမ်ားႏွင့္ ႏိုင္ငံတကာေက်ာက္မ်က္ျပပြဲမ်ားတြင္ ေရာင္းခ်မွုစသည့္နည္းလမ္းေလးသြယ္ျဖင့္ အေမရိကန္အပါအ၀င္ ႏိုင္ငံတကာတရား၀င္ ၀ယ္ယူႏိုင္ေၾကာင္း ၄င္းကဆိုသည္။
လက္ရိွျမန္မာ့ေက်ာက္စိမ္းေစ်းကြက္သည္ က်ဥ္းေျမာင္းေနျပီး ေနာင္တြင္အေမရိကန္ေက်ာက္မ်က္အသင္းအေနျဖင့္ ေက်ာက္မ်က္ျပပြဲမ်ားတြင္ ဖိတ္ေခၚပါကသြားေရာက္ေရာင္းခ်ႏိုင္မည္ျဖစ္ျပီး ေငြေၾကးစီးဆင္းမႈတြင္လည္း အေနာက္ႏိုင္ငံေငြေၾကးမ်ား
ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံဘဏ္တြင္ တိုက္႐ိုက္စီး၀င္ခြင့္မရခဲ့သည့္ အေျခအေနမွ လြတ္ေျမာက္လာမည္ျဖစ္ကာ အေရာင္းအ၀ယ္လုပ္ေဆာင္ရာတြင္ ဘဏ္မွ ေငြေပးေခ်စနစ္လုပ္ေဆာင္မွသာ ႏိုင္ငံေတာ္အေနျဖင့္ အခြန္ေကာက္ခံႏိုင္မည္ဟု ဦး၀င္ထိန္က ဆိုသည္။
ျမန္မာ့ေက်ာက္စိမ္း၊ ေက်ာက္မ်က္႑ အေမရိကန္ပိတ္ဆို႔မႈ ဖယ္ရွားလိုက္ေသာ္လည္း ပို႔ကုန္႑ က်ယ္ျပန္႔လာေရးအတြက္ ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံေတာ္ အစိုးရအေနျဖင့္ ပို႔ကုန္၊ သြင္းကုန္မူ၀ါဒႏွင့္ အေကာက္ခြန္ႏႈန္းမူ၀ါဒ ျပင္ဆင္ရန္လိုအပ္ေၾကာင္း ရန္ကုန္တိုင္း ေက်ာက္မ်က္ရတနာလုပ္ငန္းရွင္မ်ားအသင္း ဒုတိယဥကၠဌ ေဒါက္တာေအာင္ေက်ာ္၀င္းက ေျပာသည္။
သယံဇာတထြက္ရွိမႈမွ ျပည္သူျပည္သား အမ်ားစုကို အက်ဳိးျဖစ္ထြန္းမည့္ ေက်ာက္မ်က္တန္ဖိုးျမင့္ လုပ္ငန္းမ်ား ဖြံ႕ၿဖိဳးလာရန္ ရန္ကုန္တိုင္း ေက်ာက္မ်က္ရတနာလုပ္ငန္းရွင္မ်ားအသင္းက MasterPlan ေရးဆဲြ၍ သယံဇာတႏွင့္ ပတ္၀န္းက်င္ထိန္းသိမ္းေရး၀န္ႀကီးဌာနသို႔ တင္ျပထားၿပီး သက္ဆိုင္ရာအပိုင္းအလိုက္ ေျဖေလွ်ာ့မႈမ်ား ျပဳလုပ္ေပးရန္ အဆိုပါ၀န္ႀကီးဌာန အပါအ၀င္ ဗဟိုဘဏ္၊ စီးပြားေရးနွင့္ ကူးသန္းေရာင္း၀ယ္ေရး ၀န္ႀကီးဌာန၊ စီမံကိန္းႏွင့္ ဘ႑ာေရးအခြန္၀န္ႀကီးဌာနတို႔ကိုလည္း တင္ျပထားေၾကာင္း သိရသည္။
အဆိုပါMasterPlan ထဲတြင္ အေခ်ာထည္ ထုတ္လုပ္တင္ပို႔မႈကို ၁၀ႏွစ္စီမံကိန္းျဖင့္ လုပ္ေဆာင္ထားၿပီး ပထမ သံုးႏွစ္ကို ထြက္သမွ်ကုန္ၾကမ္း၏ ၃၀ရာခိုင္ႏႈန္းကို အေခ်ာထည္ ေျပာင္းလဲလုပ္ေဆာင္ရမည္ျဖစ္ၿပီး ဒုတိယငါးႏွစ္တြင္ ထြက္သမွ်ကုန္ၾကမ္း၏ ၅၀ ရာခိုင္ႏႈန္းကို အေခ်ာထည္ေျပာင္း၍ ႏိုင္ငံတကာႏွင့္ ျပည္တြင္း၌ ေရာင္းခ်ျခင္း၊ တတိယ သံုးႏွစ္တြင္ ၇၅ရာခိုင္ႏႈန္း၊ ၁၀ႏွစ္ျပည့္ပါက ထြက္သမွ်ကုန္ၾကမ္း၏၁၀၀ရာခိုင္ႏႈန္းမွာ အေခ်ာထည္ျဖစ္ရမည္ စသည့္ အခ်က္မ်ားလည္း ပါ၀င္သည္။ ထို႔ျပင္ ႏိုင္ငံတကာႏွင့္ လြတ္လပ္စြာ ကူးသန္းေရာင္း၀ယ္ခြင့္၊ ႏိုင္ငံေတာ္အေနျဖင့္လည္း မနစ္နာဘဲ ရသင့္ရထိုက္သည့္ အခြန္ဘ႑ာရရွိရန္၊ တရား၀င္လမ္းေၾကာင္းမ်ား တိုးတက္ရန္၊ တရားမ၀င္ ကုန္စည္စီးဆင္းမႈ ေလ်ာ့နည္းေအာင္ မူ၀ါဒမ်ားကို တင္ျပထားေၾကာင္း၊ ၂၀၁၇ႏွစ္ဆန္းပိုင္းတြင္ ေစ်းကြက္ျဖန္႔ၾကက္ရန္ စတင္ႏိုင္မည္ဟု ေမွ်ာ္လင့္ေၾကာင္း သိရသည္။
“အစီအစဥ္နဲ႔ မလုပ္ဘူးဆိုရင္ေတာ့ ကုန္ၾကမ္းအကုန္လံုးက ေန႔ခ်င္း၊ ညခ်င္း အေခ်ာထည္လုပ္လို႔ မျဖစ္ႏိုင္ဘူး။ အကုန္ဆႏၵျပကုန္မယ္။ တရားမ၀င္လမ္းေၾကာင္းကို တြန္းအားေပးတာနဲ႔ အတူတူပဲ။ အဲဒါေၾကာင့္ ေပၚလစီတစ္ခုခ်မယ္ဆို ႏိုင္ငံေတာ္ရဲ႕ ႀကိဳးပမ္းမႈ၊ လုပ္ငန္းရွင္ေတြရဲ႕ ပူးေပါင္းပါ၀င္မႈ အေပၚ မူတည္တယ္” ဟု ေဒါက္တာေအာင္ေက်ာ္၀င္းက ဆိုသည္။
ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံ ကုန္သြယ္မႈလိုေငြျပျခင္းအေျခအေနမွ ေလ်ာ့ပါးသြားႏိုင္ေအာင္ ေက်ာက္စိမ္း၊ ေက်ာက္မ်က္ႏွင့္ သတၱဳက႑ာမွာ အဓိကျဖစ္ေၾကာင္း ေဒါက္တာေအာင္ေက်ာ္၀င္းက ဆိုသည္။
ျပည္တြင္းပို႔ကုန္ ျမင့္တက္ေစေရး အတြက္ စီးပြားေရးႏွင့္ ကူးသန္းေရာင္း၀ယ္ေရး ၀န္ႀကီးဌာန၏ အမ်ဳိးသား ပို႔ကုန္မဟာတြင္ ေက်ာက္စိမ္း၊ ေက်ာက္မ်က္ကို ေရတို၊ ေရရွည္ အစီအစဥ္မ်ား ေရးဆြဲထည့္သြင္းထားကာ ထိထိေရာက္ေရာက္ လြယ္ကူစြာ တင္ပို႔ႏိုင္ေရး လုပ္ေဆာင္ေနသည္။ ယခု အေမရိကန္မွလည္း ကုန္သြယ္မႈအခြင့္အေရးရရွိလာမည္ျဖစ္ေသာေၾကာင့္ ေစ်းႏႈန္းသက္သာစြာျဖင့္ ၀ယ္ယူလိုသူမ်ားကို ဆဲြေဆာင္လာႏိုင္မည္ျဖစ္၍ ေက်ာက္မ်က္က႑ ေစ်းကြက္အလားအလာ က်ယ္ျပန္႔လာၿပီျဖစ္ရာ ပို႔ကုန္ျမွင့္တင္သြားမည္ျဖစ္ေၾကာင္း ကုန္သြယ္ေရးျမွင့္တင္ေရးဦးစီးဌာန ညႊန္ၾကားေရးမွဴးဦးေအာင္စိုးက ေျပာသည္။
“အေမရိကန္ ေက်ာက္မ်က္အသင္းကလည္း ျမန္မာ့ေက်ာက္မ်က္ေတြကို ၀ယ္ယူျဖန္႔ျဖဴးလိုေၾကာင္း ၿပီးခဲ့တဲ့တစ္ပတ္က စီးပြားကူးသန္းနဲ႔ ေတြ႕ဆံုရာမွာ ေျပာပါတယ္။ ျပည္ပအေနနဲ႔ ရတနာျပပြဲေတြမွာ ၀ယ္ယူမႈကေတာ့ ရရွိမွာျဖစ္ေပမဲ့ တိုက္ရိုက္တင္ပို႔ခြင့္ကို သယံဇာတ၀န္ႀကီးဌာနႏွင့္ ညွိႏႈိင္းေနတုန္းပဲ” ဟု ၎ကဆိုသည္။
Source : The Myanmar Times (MTM ISSUE – 796)
Myanmar Ruby, Jade, Pearl, Sapphire, Gems & Jewellery
July 15, 2016 Myanmar 2016
Jewelry and Agricultural and Food products will be added to national export strategy
U Aung Soe, Director of Trade Promotion Organization, Ministry of Commerence stated that Jewelry and Agricultural, Food products will be added to the national export strategy as a new category. This two catageories were been installed by the economist in interim report of national export strategy. The country has many lost in income since jewels from Myanmar are exported as crude jewels currently. Thus, in order to increase job opportunities and income, it would be the best options to domestic improve the quality of jewels and export the better quality ones. This is the main reason of adding jewelry category into national export strategy. This will help to allow the market opportunities more widespread. “We are currently exporting as crude jewels. And also in the jewelry shows, crude jewels are the top in sales. To export goods and to produce goods, it will need to be supported widely. If we find jewels as crude, then we will only get the price of crude jewels. The other countries will get the higher-value segment. Country lose a lot.” Said U Aung Soe. Thus, Natural resources and department of conservation and other concurring deportments are currently discussing about that matter.
This Agriculture and Food industry is also the one of the most promising category for Myanmar. Like in the jewelries, there are many farm products but only as in raw materials. So, if we can turn those into food products, it will increase job opportunities and income of the country. U Aung Soe continued “if we could widely produce and export the farm products to the markets, there will be a lot of increase in export income. And also it can create more job opportunities. That is why we are extending.”
The jewelry and Agriculture and food industry category have been reported and explained to the jewelry businessmen and economists in the interim report of national strategy. The business will discuss about this matter to produce the last report will implement this.
The National export strategy has been started programming in 2013 and was implemented in 2015. The following category is chosen for the export development as the priority. They are textile and clothing category, forest products, Beans and oilseeds, grain and rice, fisheries, Rubber section and tourism. So, These jewelry and Agriculture based Food products also will be added in the national export strategy.
PROCEEDS from Myanmar‘s annual sale of jade, gems and pearls totaled $592.12 million, down nearly 10 per cent from 2015, government data showed.
More than 2,000 gem merchants, many from neighboring China, attended the sale in the capital Naypydaw from June 24 to July 6, the official Myanmar Alin Daily reported.
Nearly all of the proceeds came from the sale of 3,647 lots of jade, which accounted for $475.35 million of the total.
Jade in Myanmar is mainly found in the Hpa-kant area in the war-torn northern Kachin State, where activity is dominated by mostly Chinese-led ventures.
Much of the jade is being smuggled into China each year, local residents say. Jade is a status symbol in China widely believed to bring fortune, wealth and longevity.
According to official data, China – the world’s biggest jade market – imported only about $540m of Myanmar jade in the first nine months of 2015.
Global Witness, a non-governmental organization, estimated the value of Myanmar‘s jade production at $31 billion in 2014.
Local villagers complain they are being forced off their land because of increased mining activity.
Scavengers who in the thousands scour mountains of loose earth and rubble for nuggets of jade are sometimes buried alive, including 114 killed in a landslide in November.
On the other hand, jade production has been dropping due to long running sporadic fighting between major Kachin ethnic armed group KIA and government forces.
Total jade production in the 2014/15 (April/March) fiscal year was over 16.684 million kg, compared with 43.185 million kg in 2011-2012 and 46.810 million kg in 2010-2011, according to data from the State-run Central Statistical Organisation (CSO).
Total jade production from April to November in fiscal 2015/2016 fiscal was 18.047 million kg.
Myanmar‘s gem emporium has been held annually since 1964 and provides a rare glimpse into its largely opaque jade trade.
Source : Dealstreeasia and FYI media on Facebook
RFA:Former Myanmar Government Officials Accused in Myanmar Gems Fund Embezzlement Scandal
Members of a Myanmar gem association called on authorities on Thursday to investigate the disappearance of roughly U.S.$ 100 million from its funds, including U.S. $1.1 million allegedly taken by former President Thein Sein, said one of the group’s members.
Kyaw Kyaw Oo, an executive member of the Myanmar Gems and Jewelry Entrepreneurs Association, told reporters at a press conference in Yangon that the trade group’s members demanded that the new National League for Democracy (NLD) government take action against the previous administration for its role in the embezzlement scandal.
The fund, opened under the Ministry of Mines during former President Thein Sein’s government, contained about $104 million accumulated from fees paid by entrepreneurs who worked in the extraction industry, according to a Myanmar Times report.
Win Htein, director general of the Department of Mines and chairman of a tribunal investigating the matter, said the value of the fund has dwindled to less than $8 million, the report said.
“First we heard €7 million [U.S. $7.8 million] from the fund was given to the former president,” Kyaw Kyaw Oo said. “So we raised the issue with retired Colonel Win Htein, who is now presiding over an inquiry committee. He said that only €1 million [U.S. $1.1 million] was given to Thein Sein. It’s on a recording.”
Also on Thursday, former Minister of Mines Myint Aung, who was appointed by Thein Sein in September 2012, told a press conference in the administrative capital Naypyidaw that the allegations against the former president were false, and the missing money had been properly spent and accounted for.
“Now we can clear up everything,” he told reporters at the conference. “We didn’t have any corruption here. What we had done was decided by the [government’s] Central Executive Committee, not by a single individual, and it was carried out according to working protocol.”
The money collected from 52 million people was distributed to areas in various states and regions that needed development funds, Myint Aung said.
Of the U.S. $7.8 million in question, Thein Sein placed U.S. $1.1 million in the Ministry of Construction’s bank account, he said. The remainder, which was raised separately from businessmen, also remains in the bank.
Myint Aung said he will seek legal action against those who have accused former government ministers and Thein Sein of embezzling funds from the trade association, state-run Global New Light of Myanmar reported.
Some current Central Executive Committee members and gem association members signed a petition urging Shwe Mann, the ousted former parliamentary speaker under the former ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), to take up the alleged corruption case in parliament’s Legal Affairs and Special Cases Assessment Commission.
In February, State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi appointed Shwe Mann, whom she considers an ally, to lead the legal advisory panel.
At a press conference addressing the complaint on May 30, Zaw Myint Pe, a member of the parliamentary commission, recommended that an independent body be created to investigate the matter, the Global New Light of Myanmar report said.
Precious stones are weighed at a gem merchant’s house in Mogok, some 125 miles northeast of Mandalay in central Myanmar, May 25, 2015. Credit: NurPhoto
In the meantime, the complaint and embezzlement accusations have been submitted to President Htin Kyaw, Aung San Suu Kyi, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Bureau of Special Investigation, Ministry of Mines, Mining and Resource Affairs Committee, and Myanmar’s upper house of parliament, theMyanmar Times report said.
Former information minister Ye Htut, who also served as Thein Sein’s spokesman while he was in office, told reporters at the Naypyidaw press briefing that the trade association’s accusations are politically motivated.
“This is a problem within the jewelry organization where many of the complainers are Central Executive Committee members,” he said.
The association should have first raised the issue of the missing funds at its own meetings, and then filed a complaint with the government if no satisfactory explanation came about, he said.
“The complaint should have gone to administrative authorities of the government led by President Htin Kyaw, the parliamentary committee which oversees mining, or the complaints and appeals committee,” Ye Htut said. “But instead, the [association] sent the complaint to parliament’s special commission led by many ousted USDP leaders.”
“This raises questions as to whether the reason behind the move might be a political one that runs deeper than organization’s internal affairs,” he said.
The NLD government, which took office in early April, announced that it planned to combine the Ministry of Mines and Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry into a new Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation.
Myanmar’s jade industry alone is worth U.S. $31 billion, according to a report issued last October by London-based anti-corruption and environmental advocacy group Global Witness.
The group said a network of former generals, drug lords, and crony businessmen—including former junta chief Than Shwe and senior figures in Myanmar’s military-backed USDP—tightly control the jade industry and keep the sector’s vast profits exclusively for themselves.
Reported by Myo Zaw Ko, Myo Thant Khine and Win Ko Ko Latt for RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Kyaw Min Htun. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.
YANGON (AFP) – An embezzlement probe hs beaunched after nearly US$100 million (S$138 million) vanished from a fund set up by Myanmar’s gem companies, a trade body said on Thursday (June 2), raising corruption fears in an industry notorious for its shady dealings.
Mining – especially for jade – was firmly in the hands of the military and their ‘crony’ elites during the final years of junta rule, but remains cloaked in secrecy despite reforms under a quasi-civilian government that came to power in 2011.
The fund, drawn from a one percent levy on profits from the multi-billion-dollar extractive trade, has US$7.8 million left from a high of $104 million, according to the Myanmar Gems and Jewellery Entrepeneurs Association.
“But we don’t know anything (about the money). How was it managed and where did the money go?” association member Kyaw Kyaw Oo told reporters.
He did not say how many years the fund was collected for, name the contributors or speculate what has happened to the cash.
But he said a parliamentary commission is probing the whereabouts of the cash and will soon publish its findings.
The group, which includes major mining companies that dominate the country’s trade in jade, sapphires and rubies, say the fund was set up to help develop local gem markets and associations.
“The members are worried about mismanagement of the funds,” Kyaw Kyaw Oo said, adding the group hopes the country’s newly installed democratic government, presided over by Aung San Suu Kyi, will deliver transparency.
“We did not have any chance (for transparency) in the terms of the old government,” he added.
Last year corruption watchdog Global Witness said Myanmar’s jade industry alone was worth an estimated US$31 billion in 2014, with most profits going to powerful military and ex-junta figures instead of the state coffers.
That estimated value would amount to almost half of the impoverished country’s GDP.
Large amounts of jade are sold to China through illegal mines and in rebel-held areas.
While the price of jade has slipped in recent months, poor migrant workers still risk their lives to comb unstable pits in northern Myanmar for valuable fragments.
Scores of people have died in recent months in landslides at open pits in Kachin State, which are also awash with drugs.
An Introduction to GIA in Yangon, Myanmar
Institute provides gem and jewelry information to the public, May 31
BANGKOK – May 28, 2014 – Representatives from GIA (Gemological Institute of America) in Thailand will host a meet-and-greet in Yangon, Myanmar on May 31 to introduce the public to the Institute’s gem and jewelry education programs and laboratory services. The networking and informational event will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and will include exclusive seminars, a special education giveaway and more.
An 83-year old public-benefit organization dedicated to ensuring the public trust in gem and jewelry purchases, GIA is globally recognized for its education, research discoveries and laboratory services. The event will include a “lucky draw” for a GIA Diamond Essentials online course, screenings for How to Choose a Diamond and Pearls at GIA, a buffet lunch and an information booth for GIA education and lab services. Presentations scheduled:
* Claudia D’Andrea, GIA’s director of Education in Bangkok, will give an introduction to the “Multifaceted GIA” * Pairach Nalinthrangkurn, GIA’s operations manager for the laboratory in Bangkok, will discuss the GIA DiamondCheck™, GIA’s new device that accurately identifies colorless natural, untreated diamonds in the D-to-N range and refers diamonds that are potentially synthetic or treated for further examination * Nicholas Sturman, GIA’s senior manager of Pearl Identification, will present on “The Colorful World of Pearls and their Mollusks”
The “Introduction to GIA” event begins at 9:30 a.m. on May 31 in the “Konbaung & Tagaung Rooms” on level 3 of the Sule Shangri-La Yangon (formerly the Traders Hotel) in Yangon, Myanmar.
For reservations, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or call +6626324090 ext 138. For more information about GIA, visit www.giathai.net.
Gems lab angles for global recognition
SU PHYO WIN
A PRIVATELY owned gems laboratory equipped with the latest technology opened its doors yesterday, but, it will take time for the industry to receive international recognition, insiders say.
Myanmar, Gemological Laboratory will be able to provide a range of reports at a cost of K15,000 to K-150,000 to identify natural or synthetic stones, including treatment and geographic origin, according to its founder U Wai La Win.
“If we can make hundreds or thou- sands of reports matching [the quality of reports by] internationally recognised labs, with local coordination, it will be quicker to get the reputation of local labs recognised in. foreign couniries I ” he said.
U Wai La Win added there are about 10 such labs in the country, but most use somewhat outdated technology compared to his lab.
Leading Myanmar geologist Daw Yin Yin New said she supports the private sector as the government it- self is decentralising.
“By competing with the private sector, processes on the government side become more competitive and qualified. There should be no more monopolising by the government, I think,” she said.
Government gems experts should also work closely with their private i sector counterparts in efforts to re- ceive international recognition- Cur- rently, local stones often must be certified in foreign countries, but this business could be completed locally, she said.
“The government needs to liberalise and decentralise the sector by handing over mining processes to the private sector and simply collecting Lax from them, like Indonesia- This avoids conflict. of interest, though does not fully control all the country’s resources from leaving..” she said. Gems dealers say they welcome efforts to bring international-quality gems appraisal to Yangon.
U Thaung Tun, owner of Yadana Theingi Gems and Jewellery, said when local gems are resold at inter- national exhibitions, they must often be re-appraised to meet their standards.
Gary Nelson, a gems businessper¬son, said that while some of the laboratories here may not be glob¬ally recognised, they have a lot of ex¬perience and understand Myanmar gemstones.
However, laboratories bring a level of objectivity to gem appraisals. They have necessary equipment and can tell the characteristics of stones and how they stack up against inter¬national gems.
“They can identify stones very eas¬ily and very correctly,” he said.
Part of the problem for local gems laboratories is the world was in the dark for so long about the industry in Myanmar, and it was also difficult for Myanmar people to take in interna¬tional best practices.
Mr Nelson said the situation was different for U Wai La Win, as he studied and worked overseas for the Gemological Institute of Amer¬ica, and is bringing that experience back to Myanmar. In the past, most Myanmar labs catered to the local community.
Ideally, locally valued gems with a proper certificate should be accepted internationally, which will help local traders have the confidence to go places like New York or London and present the stone, he said.
Queen Elizabeth’s Burmese Ruby Tiara
Queen Elizabeth inherited most of the tiaras she own and she left them alone. (Unlike her grandmother Queen Mary, who loves to redesign her gems regularly)
The queen commissioned the tiara in 1973 from Garrard using gems which she already had in hand. The gems were 96 rubies from the people of Burma which she received as the wedding present and the diamonds from the Nizam of Hyderabad tiara which was also the wedding present. The rubies were a symbiolic gift. Rubies are believed to protect the owner from illness and evil and from 96 diseases that affect humans according to Burmese beliefs.
The queen wears the tiara often since its commission.