Daily News- January 13 - 2002- Saturday

  • Myanmar to improve trade for entry into AFTA
  • Lahu group to continue armed struggle; urges junta to stop landmine use
  • Karen group denies junta's atrocity allegation
  • New Russian envoy offers help with education
  • Rakhine state naval base moved to Kyaukphu
  • New system begins for money changers
  • Myanmar Wants More Use of Tillers in Farming

  • Myanmar to improve trade for entry into AFTA

    YANGON (Reuters) - Myanmar's military government is trying to boost cross border trade in preparation for joining the Association of South East Asian Nations' (ASEAN) free trade area by 2006.

    State-run newspapers reported on Saturday the government would also help promote economic and development cooperation with its major ASEAN trade partners -- China, Japan, South Korea, India and Pakistan.

    "Border trade will continue to develop as long as friendly relation is maintained with five neighbouring countries," General Khin Nyunt, the powerful Secretary One of the ruling State Peace and Development Council, was quoted as saying. Khin Nyunt said he called on the government to help promote the participation of private sector in international trade. The private sector carried out about 51 percent of total trade volume in the first half of current fiscal year.

    Volume of foreign trade grew to $4.2 billion at the end of the third quarter of 2001/2002 fiscal (April-March) from $3.7 billion for the same period in the 1998/1999 fiscal year.

    "Plans are in progress to introduce the account trade system between Myanmar and Thailand, and Myanmar and Malaysia," he said. Khin Nyunt said the trade sector now contributed about 23.9 percent of Myanmar's gross domestic product, and could rise to 24.5 percent in the 2005/2006 fiscal year.

    Myanmar joined ASEAN, comprising its major trade partners, in 1997 and embarked on a market economy in 1998 after the ruling military government seized state power. Observers say the pace of market reforms has been sluggish since the late 1990s. ASEAN was formed in 1967 as an economic grouping to provide a bulwark against communism. Its current members are Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, the Philippines and Singapore.

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    Lahu group to continue armed struggle; urges junta to stop landmine use

    BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Jan 12, 2002
    Text of report by Burmese opposition radio on 11 January

    The Lahu National Democratic Front [LNDF] has urged the SPDC [State Peace and Development Council] to stop the oppression against the national races. The statement issued yesterday by the LNDF to commemorate the 29th Anniversary of Lahu Revolutionary Day stated that although some national races armed groups have made cease-fire agreements with the junta, human rights abuses are still being committed till today.

    The statement claimed that the LNDF will continue its armed struggle in order to achieve a genuine federal union. The Lahu national revolution started on 10 January 1973 at Loi-Khawng Leng Village in Mong Hsat Township of Shan State.

    At the same time, the LNDF has also urged the SPDC to stop the use of landmines in Burma. Due to heavy mining of areas in the vicinity of the farmlands used by the national races and the surrounding areas of military establishments, there have been frequent cases of landmine accidents. Although there were casualties, some were maimed and the socioeconomic lives of many families have been affected.

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    Karen group denies junta's atrocity allegation

    BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Jan 12, 2002
    Text of report by Burmese opposition radio on 11 January

    The SPDC [State Peace and Development Council] has issued a statement today alleging that about 30 KNU, Karen National Union, insurgents entered Kaleinmadaw Village in Thanbyuzayat Township on 22 December 2001 and killed three villagers. The three killed were from a family - a young girl and her parents. The SPDC statement did not give any details.

    KNU general secretary Phado Mahn Shar denied any involvement in the killings. Furthermore, he accused the SPDC of creating propaganda to degrade the KNU.

    He added that the SPDC has been continually issuing statements and the one issued on Wednesday [9 January] claimed that two rocket propelled grenades connected to a timer were uncovered near Mingaladon Airport.

    Then, yesterday [10 January] they alleged that the KNPP, Karenni National Progressive Party, members killed seven villagers in Lawpita region of Kayah State. Today, they have accused the KNU of killing three members of a family. Observers believe something is behind the SPDC's distribution of such news relating to terrorism and security issues.

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    New Russian envoy offers help with education

    By Thet Khaing
    source : Myanmartimes: January 7 - 13, 2002 Volume 5, No.97

    THE NEW Russian ambassador, Mr Oleg Kabanov, said his country would like to support Myanmar in the improvement of its technology and education sectors.

    Speaking to Myanmar Times last week, Mr Kabanov said Myanmar needs modern technology to raise its social and economic standards and Russia was willing to help Myanmar, especially in the fields of science and technology.

    Mr Kabanov said 300 Myanmar students were being provided with education and training in Russia and he would be interested in giving further assistance to the Myanmar government in its plan to open Aerospace Engineering and Maritime Universities.

    "We are very open for cooperation with Myanmar," Mr Kabanov said. Mr Kabanov said a new impetus had been achieved in the two countries’ relations after the visit to Moscow by Foreign Minister U Win Aung in 2000, paving the way for more interaction between Moscow and Yangon.

    "The political climate surrounding the two countries is very favourable for the further development of bilateral relations," he said. Mr Kabanov said he saw the economic aspect of the two countries’ relationship as being "most promising". He said his new posting in Yangon was important to him, stating that his Eurasian nation would like to develop closer ties with Asean members and other Asian countries.

    "I think my president has given me a great honour by appointing me (here)." Mr Kabanov’s previous position was Deputy Director of the European Department of Russia’s Foreign Ministry. The Russian ambassador presented his credentials to the Chairman of State Peace and Development Council Senior General Than Shwe last Wednesday and will meet a number of Myanmar government ministers in the next few days.

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    Rakhine state naval base moved to Kyaukphu

    Narinjara News

    Sittwe, 12th January 02: As part of a sweeping change in relocating defence headquarters in Rakhine State, the western region of Myanmar, the Dhanyawaddy Naval Base has been moved to Kyaukpyu from Sittwe, according to our correspondent from Sittwe.

    At present there are ten defence services headquarters in Rakhine State. Among them Dhanyawaddy is only in second importance to the Western Command which was moved to Ann in the first quarter of last year after the race riots in February. Dhanyawaddy Naval Base was moved to Kyaukpyu, where the Chinese engineers and technicians had been engaged in building a deep-sea submarine base, by the end of 2001. The naval base at Kyaukpyu has been promoted to one under the control of a newly installed rear admiral, Mya Swe.

    After relocation of the Western Command, the important defence headquarters to Ann, only a Regional Defence Administration (Detha Kwaetke Hmu Sitthana Gyouk, DaKaSa) has been installed in Sittwe. General Phon Swe has been installed as the commander of DaKaSa. Now as Dhanyawaddy has been moved to Kyaukpyu, the Myanmar Navy has also been given a shake-up in its administration in Sittwe and demoted from its former status of Regional Naval Headquarter of the western region.

    Recently all the regional commanders have been reshuffled and Brigadier Maung Oo has been installed as the new Western Commander. General Aung Htwe, former Western Commander has been made Commander-in-charge of the Defence Services in Rakhine State from 30th December 2001, according to the Myanmar TV broadcast.

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    New system begins for money changers

    By Myo Lwin
    source : Myanmartimes :January 7 - 13, 2002 Volume 5, No.97

    YANGON’S official money exchange counters on Theinbyu Street introduced a new system last week which should make transactions easier for customers, according to an official. Under the new system, the counters will be selling only the amount of Foreign Exchange Certificate (FEC) bought the previous day, an official told Myanmar Times.

    "We have introduced this system so that the FEC buyers will not have to wait unnecessarily as we will be selling only the amount we have purchased the day before," he said, adding that the system has been devised for the convenience of the public. Previously, long queues have formed as people wait in the hope that they will get the amount of FEC they require and many become furious when the counters run out of FECs, he said. In the future those queues will be avoided.

    "Today (January 3) for instance, we can sell only 1000 FECs. So, we are sorry for all those who need FECs for telephone bills as only students will be given priority," he said. "On average, each of six counters buys or receives 10,000 FECs a day," he said. "Many students need FECs for classes at LCCI, British Council, French language and GEC while UN organisations, hotels, airlines and manufacturing companies come to sell their hard currency and FECs in exchange for Kyats," he said.

    Apart from the FECs, the counters also buy US dollars, French francs, Swiss francs, Japanese yen, German marks and British pounds sterling with kyat, although they do not sell such currencies. France and Germany are among the 12 European countries where the euro became legal tender on New Year’s Day. As reported previously in Myanmar Times, (‘Change of guard among FEC changers,’ page 6, Vol 4, No 69), the Central Bank of Myanmar revoked licences from 10 changers and issued six new licences.

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    Myanmar Wants More Use of Tillers in Farming

    YANGON, Jan 12, 2002 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Myanmar is making efforts to use more mechanized tillers in farming, targeting 75 percent of the use on cultivation by 2030 to replace draft animals on which the country is still depending a lot.

    To achieve this target, the nation would require production of 10,000 tillers a year, according to an estimation of the Department of Agricultural Mechanization (DAM) of the Myanmar Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation. As disclosed by the DAM, the current mechanization rate of Myanmar was very low which is over 20 percent, indicating most farmers use draft animals to till their soil.

    To raise the rate of mechanization in agricultural works, the DAM is cooperating with China's Institute of Project Planning and Research and Zhejiang Sifang Group Corporation in building an agricultural implements factory in Ingon, Kyaukse township of northern Mandalay division, that can produce 10,000 sets of walking tractors and 5,000 sets of reapers a year.

    On completion of the project, it is believed that it will make a major contribution towards raising the level of Myanmar's mechanization in the agricultural sector.According to the DAM, there are only four existing agricultural equipment factories in Myanmar producing a total of 6,000 power tillers annually.

    Myanmar, an agro-based country, is striving to transform its traditional farming to mechanized one for the development of its agriculture and has set up 22 mechanized farming villages across the country to boost agricultural production and to reduce labor cost and time in the undertaking.

    Official statistics show that a total of 2.835 million hectares of Myanmar's farmland are now ploughed by machines, accounting for 23.34 percent of the country's cultivated land which stretches 12.15 million hectares, while the land ploughed by draught animals covers 9.315 million hectares, taking up 76.66 percent of the total cultivated land. Myanmar's agriculture represents 42 percent of its gross domestic product and 25 percent of the export value.

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