Economy of Burma

Economy of Burma

Infobox Economy
country = Burma

width =
caption =
currency = kyat (MMK)
year = 1 April - 31 March
organs = WTO, ASEAN
rank = 66th
gdp = $85.2 billion (2006 est.)
growth = 3% (2006 est.)
per capita = $1,800 (2006 est.)
sectors = agriculture: 50%, industry: 15%, services: 35% (2006 est.)
inflation = 21.4% (2006 est.)
poverty = 25% (2006 est.)
labor = 28.49 million (2006 est.)
occupations = agriculture: 70%, industry: 7%, services: 23% (2001)
unemployment = 10.2% (2006 est.)
industries = Agricultural Processing, Textiles and Footwear, Wood and Wood Products, Metallurgical industry(Copper, Tin, Tungsten, Iron),Construction Materials, Pharmaceuticals, Fertilizer industry
exports = $3.56 billion f.o.b.note: official export figures are grossly underestimated due to the value of timber, gems, narcotics, rice, and other products smuggled to Thailand, China, and Bangladesh (2006)
export-goods = clothing, gas, wood products, pulses, beans, fish, rice
export-partners = Thailand 48.4%, India 12.6%, the China 5.2%, Japan 5.1% (2006)
imports = $1.98 billion f.o.b.note: import figures are grossly underestimated due to the value of consumer goods, diesel fuel, and other products smuggled in from Thailand, China, Malaysia, and India (2004)
import-goods = fabric, petroleum products, plastics, machinery, transport equipment, construction materials, crude oil; food products
import-partners = China 33.6%, Thailand 21.2%, Singapore 15.7%, Malaysia 4.6%, South Korea 4.1% (2006)
debt = $7.162 billion (2006 est.)
revenue = $473.3 million (FY04/05 est.)
expenses = $716.6 million; including capital expenditures of $5.7 billion (FY04/05 est.)
aid = "recipient": $127 million (2001 est.)
cianame = bm

Burma is one of the poorest nations in the world, suffering from decades of stagnation, mismanagement, and isolation. Burma’s GDP grows only 2.9% annually -- the lowest rate of economic growth in the Greater Mekong Subregion.cite web |url= |title=Burma |accessdate = 2007-01-13 |work=The World Factbook | publisher=Central Intelligence Agency ,]

Burma is also the poorest country in Asia, with a nominal GDP per capita of only $230 (2003), and ranks 174th out of 180 in terms of nominal GDP per capita in the world, thus being classified by the UN as one of the "least developed countries".

Under British administration, Burma was one of the wealthiest countries in Southeast Asia. It was once the world's largest exporter of rice. During British administration, Burma supplied oil through the Burmah Oil Company. Burma also had a wealth of natural and labor resources. It produced 75% of the world's teak, and had a highly literate population.cite book |last=Steinberg |first=David L. |year=2002 |month=February |title=Burma: The State of Myanmar |publisher=Georgetown University Press |id=ISBN] The country was believed to be on the fast track to development.

After a parliamentary government was formed in 1948, Prime Minister U Nu attempted to make Burma a welfare state. His administration adopted the Two-Year Economic Development Plan, which was a failure. [cite web|url= |title=Political and Economic History of Myanmar (Burma) Economics |accessdate=2006-07-08|last=Watkins |first=Thayer |publisher=San José State University]

When Burma gained independence in 1948, it was believed to be on its way to become the first Asian Tiger in the region. However, after the military dictatorship seized power in 1962, Burma became an isolated and impoverished nation.

After the 1962 military coup d'état, the military government introduced an economic plan called the Burmese Way to Socialism, under which the military regime nationalized all industries with the exception of agriculture. In 1989, the Burmese government began decentralizing economic control. It has since liberalized certain sectors of the economy. [cite book | author=Stephen Codrington | year=2005 | title=Planet geography | publisher =Solid Star Press | pages =559 | ID=ISBN 0-9579-8193-7] The government heavily regulates lucrative industries, such as gems, oil, and forestry. Foreign corporations have partnered with the government to gain access to these natural resources. Fact|date=May 2008

The economy of Burma is currently mixed. The private sector dominates in agriculture, light industry, and transport activities, while the military government controls mainly energy, heavy industry, and rice trade.

Burma was designated a least developed country in 1987. [cite web|date=2005 |url= |title=List of Least Developed Countries |publisher=UN-OHRLLS ] Private enterprises are often co-owned or indirectly owned by the Tatmadaw. In recent years, both China and India have attempted to strengthen ties with the government for economic benefit. Many nations, including the United States, Canada, and the European Union, have imposed investment and trade sanctions on Burma. Foreign investment comes primarily from China, Singapore, South Korea, India, and Thailand. [cite news | first =David | last =Fullbrook | url = | title =So long US, hello China, India | publisher =Asia Times | date =2004-11-04 | accessdate =2006-07-14]

In the eleven years from 1989-1999, the military government tried to revitalize the economy after three decades of tight central planning. However the regime has recently canceled its reforms. Despite this, the private sector continues to grow albeit slowly. Fact|date=February 2007

Macro-economic trend

This is a chart of trend of gross domestic product of Burma at market prices [ estimated] by the International Monetary Fund and EconStats with figures in millions of Myanma kyats.

Humanitarian Aid

In April 2007, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) identified the financial and other restrictions that the military government places on international humanitarian assistance in the Southeast Asian country.

The GAO report, entitled "Assistance Programs Constrained in Burma," outlines the specific efforts of the Burmese government to hinder the humanitarian work of international organizations, including by restricting the free movement of international staff within the country. The report notes that the regime has tightened its control over assistance work since former Prime Minister Khin Nyunt was purged in October 2004. Furthermore, the reports states that the military government passed guidelines in February 2006, which formalized Burma's restrictive policies. According to the report, the guidelines require that programs run by humanitarian groups "enhance and safeguard the national interest" and that international organizations coordinate with state agents and select their Burmese staff from government-prepared lists of individuals. United Nations officials have declared these restrictions unacceptable.

"The shameful behavior of Burma's military regime in tying the hand of humanitarian organizations is laid out in these pages for all to see, and it must come to an end," said U.S. Representative Tom Lantos (D-CA). "In eastern Burma, where the military regime has burned or otherwise destroyed over 3,000 villages, humanitarian relief has been decimated. At least one million people have fled their homes and many are simply being left to die in the jungle."

U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) said that the report "underscores the need for democratic change in Burma, whose military regime arbitrarily arrests, tortures, rapes and executes its own people, ruthlessly persecutes ethnic minorities, and bizarrely builds itself a new capital city while failing to address the increasingly urgent challenges of refugee flows, illicit narcotics and human trafficking, and the spread of HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases." [cite news|title=Myanmar's rulers implement increasingly restrictive regulations for aid-giving agencies |publisher=International Herald Tribune|date=2007-04-19 |accessdate=2007-04-23 ]

Recent Economic Protests

The Burmese military junta detained eight people on Sunday, April 22, 2007 who took part in a rare demonstration in a Yangon suburb amid a growing military crackdown on protesters.A group of about ten protesters carrying placards and chanting slogans staged the protest Sunday morning in Yangon's Thingangyun township, calling for lower prices and improved health, education and better utility services. The protest ended peacefully after about 70 minutes, but plainclothes police took away eight demonstrators as some 100 onlookers watched. It could not immediately be determined if they were arrested on criminal charges. The protesters carried placards with slogans such as "Down with consumer prices."

The junta tolerates little dissent and strictly curbs press freedoms. Some of those detained were the same protesters who took part in a downtown Yangon protest on February 22, 2007, said the witnesses who did not want to be identified for fear of reprisals by the government. That protest was one of the first demonstrations in recent years to challenge the junta's economic mismanagement rather than its legal right to rule. The protesters detained in the February rally had said they were released after signing an acknowledgment of police orders that they should not hold any future public demonstrations without first obtaining official permission. [cite news|title=Eight demonstrators detained for rare protest in military-ruled Myanmar |publisher=International Herald Tribune|date=2007-04-22 |accessdate=2007-04-23 ]

The Burmese military government stated its intention to crack down on these human rights activists, according to an April 23, 2007, report in the country’s official press. The announcement, that comprised a full page of the official newspaper, followed calls by human rights advocacy groups, including London-based Amnesty International, for Burmese authorities to investigate recent violent attacks on rights activists in the country.

Two members of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters, Maung Maung Lay, 37, and Myint Naing, 40, were hospitalized with head injuries following attacks by more than 50 people while the two were working in Hinthada township, Irrawaddy Division in mid-April. On Sunday, April 22, 2007, eight people were arrested by plainclothes police, members of the pro-junta Union Solidarity and Development Association, and the Pyithu Swan Arr Shin (a paramilitary group) while demonstrating peacefully in a Rangoon suburb. The eight protesters were calling for lower commodity prices, better health-care and improved utility services. Htin Kyaw, 44, one of the eight who also took part in an earlier demonstration in late February in downtown Rangoon, was beaten by a mob, according to sources at the scene of the protest.

Reports from Burmese opposition activists have emerged in recent weeks saying that Burmese authorities have directed the police and other government proxy groups to deal harshly with any sign of unrest in Rangoon. “This proves that there is no rule of law [in Burma] ,” the 88 Generation Students group said in a statement issued on April 23, 2007. “We seriously urge the authorities to prevent violence in the future and to guarantee the safety of every citizen.” [cite news|title=Burma’s Junta Vows to Crack Down on Human Rights Activists |publisher=The Irrawaddy|date=2007-04-23 |accessdate=2007-04-23]

Other statistics

Electricity - production:7.393 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source:
"fossil fuel:"61.72%
"other:"0% (1998)

Electricity - consumption:6.875 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - exports:0 kWh (1998)

Electricity - imports:0 kWh (1998)

Agriculture - products:paddy rice, maize, oilseed, sugarcane, pulses; hardwood

Currency:1 kyat (K) = 100 pyas

Exchange rates:kyats per US dollar - 5.82 (2005), 5.7459 (2004), 6.0764 (2003), 6.5734 (2002), 6.6841 (2001) note: these are official exchange rates; unofficial exchange rates ranged in 2004 from 815 kyat/US dollar to nearly 970 kyat/US dollar, and by year-end 2005, the unofficial exchange rate was 1,075 kyat/US dollar.


ee also

External links

* [ News, information, journals, magazines related to Burmese business and commerce]
* [ Myanmar Commerce Online Licence Services, Information Services website]
* [ Myanmar Commerce Information Services website]

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