Pension rates for civil servants are set to increase, purportedly at a rate that matches inflation in Burma, according to a government announcement last week.
State media last week quoted Finance Minister Hla Tun, who said the increase was being introduced to “address their basic needs”. Also included is what the government has termed “political pensioners”, likely referring to retired parliamentarians.
Those “political pensioners” who receive more than 110,000 kyat ($US140) per year will however see no increase.
The move has been met with caution among some politicians. Kyi Myint, an independent MP in Rangoon, questioned whether the government had the funds to support the move, and said that the emphasis should instead be placed on reducing commodity prices.
He said that the announcement was made “in order to please the majority”, but that greater reform of the country’s decrepit economy, particularly its banking system, was necessary.
Inflation in Burma hovers around eight percent, but a recent weakening of the US dollar has thrown the country into panic as the local currency, the kyat, strengthens – many Burmese, particularly in the export industry, who are dependent on the dollar have found themselves losing out significantly when they convert this to kyat.