State departments have returned over 1,361 million kyats (almost $1 million) of surplus funds to the state government from their 2016-2017 budget. The return was prompted by a directive from the Union government and represents the first time that surplus money has been returned, according to U Wunna Kyaw, the Mon State Minister of Planning and Finance.The minister, who also holds the cabinet portfolio for Immigration and Population, said that 13 departments had returned funds to the government, which came from both state revenue and funds allocated by the Union Government. This included over 158 million kyats from four departments that selected bidders for projects that came out under budget.
“We will use the surplus on 234 regional development projects throughout the state, including the 158 million kyats from tender surpluses,” he said, referring to the under-budget projects. The funds will be allocated by March 31 which is the last day of the current fiscal year in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.
Even as the funds were being returned, an effort to account for the surplus was underway in the Mon State Parliament, known as the Hluttaw. During the body’s 5th regular session this week, U Zaw Zaw Htoo, the National League for Democracy (NLD) representative for Paung Township asked how the surplus was being allocated now that it has been recalled from the departments. He demanded that the government send representatives information about the development projects that will receive funds.
There were also questions, though, about why the departments ran such high surpluses to begin with.
“I demanded that next year’s departmental budgets be submitted to the Hluttaw so that representatives can review them and ensure that departments do not end up with large surpluses again,” U Zaw Zaw Htoo said.
There are almost 100 departments in the Mon State government, organized under seven cabinet ministries. The 13 departments that returned surplus money include the departments of General Administration, Special Investigation, Livestock Breeding and Veterinary, Small Industry, Urban Housing Development; the Electric Power Distribution project; the State Municipal/Development Organization; the State Cargo Business; and the Offices of the Advocate and Auditor-general.