President Thein Sein pledged to increase health and education spending during a budget meeting in Naypyidaw on 7 January.
Addressing the Financial Commission at a 2014-15 fiscal year budget meeting, the president said that the education budget – allotted 5.43 percent last year – will be increased to 5.92 percent, while the health budget will increase from 3.15 to 3.38 percent, according to a statement on the website of the Office of the President.
The government made several other proposals in the union budget draft, which will be submitted to the Union Parliament in the upcoming ninth session. Proposals included free education for mid-level students and increased benefits for civil servants. Among those benefits are a 20,000 kyat (US$21) salary increase, allowances and pensions.
Budget for regional administrative deficits will more than double in the coming year. Aye Maung, chairman of the Rakhine [Arakan] Nationalities Development Party, lauded the new budget plan, saying, “We welcome the doubling of the budget, but it is crucial to spend the extra cash effectively, only on projects that are really necessary.”
“There has been expansion of schools and hospitals in ethnic regions, but just building structures will not be enough… they need to be equipped with the necessary facilities like furniture and teachers’ quarters,” he said.
Burma’s total tax revenue for the 2013-14 fiscal year was around 16 trillion kyat (US$16.6 billion), while total government spending reached 19 trillion kyat (US$19.7 billion), creating a significant deficit of nearly three trillion kyat.
Estimated GPD for the coming fiscal year in Burma is around 66 trillion kyat (US$68 billion), according to government figures.