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Burma Reduces Government, Axis Ministries

At a parliamentary session on Thursday (17 March), Myanmar's Speaker of Parliament said that the country will have 21 ministries and 18 ministerials, out of currently 36 ministries". NAYPYIDAW: Myanmar's parliamentary president on Thursday (17 March) said the country will have 21 ministries and 18 ministerials, compared to currently 36 ministries.

In a parliamentary session lasting less than 15-minute, spokesman Win Keing Than added that some ministries will be united. This includes the Ministry of Electricity and Energy as well as Culture and Religion. Some ministries were abolished, but new ones were created - for example for ethnic affairs, resources and environmental protection.

The present system has separated ministries for electricity and electricity, while the railways are operated independently of the Department of Traffic. The Armed Forces will continue to run three major ministries - the Interior, Borders and Defense Ministries. Whilst officials are not supposed to lay off their own people, the new plans, each comprising a Secretary of State for Employment, Labour, Transport, Food and Rural Development and the President's Bureau, will dismantle the ministries themselves.

Also the information department remains. It also links the mighty mining department to a wider raw materials and environmental portfoli. That will continue to be a key part of the country, whose abundant physical resource base is largely focused in areas with ethnically diverse minorities, where locals see little of the billion dollar revenues they have made.

Myanmar's huge jet engine production in the conflict-ridden Kachin state could be a particular onus. It also supported the merger of the Department of Agricultural and Watering with the Department of Fishery and the Cattle Farm. "For example, to get a better and more competitively priced agricultural sector on the open markets, we really need mechanization, we really need to enhance our qualities and we really need to enhance education and facilitation," said Moe Myint Kyaw, General Secretariat of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and industry.

Another interviewee also voiced concerns that the ministries will be overloaded as each of them takes on a bigger portfolios. "Bringing services together can also cause more disorientation..... it is possible that you end up with a very confused service. Particularly when you combine ministries, you are not prepared to make hard choices to remove items or eliminating repeating mishaps.

Cabinet agendas will be discussed by the legislator on Friday, said Mann Win Khaing Than. Before the NLD, which won a landmark victory in last November's election, had said it wanted to cut the present 36 ministries to around 20. The NLD has also sworn to run a more integrative government open to Myanmar's minority population.

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