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NAYPYIDAW: Myanmar’s leader vowed yesterday to put the nation’s impoverished people at the heart of reforms in a speech wooing international donors whose help is badly-needed to rebuild the battered economy.
After decades of kleptocratic junta rule Myanmar’s people remain among the world’s poorest, prompting President Thein Sein’s pledge to raise living standards, boost jobs and support farmers and small businesses.
The government “must be people-centred” and respond to their “needs, expectations and wishes”, Thein Sein told donors — including officials from the United States, European Union, Japan, World Bank and IMF — in Naypyidaw, according to an English transcript of his comments.
“While focusing on improvements in productivity, job creation and income opportunities we will also need to help people have better access to education, healthcare, social welfare, electricity and telecommunications,” he said.
Myanmar will fulfil those aspirations “more effectively and successfully if we... receive assistance from the international community”, he added. The country has asked the IMF for help in 2013, according to a report released this week by the body.
The study says the country’s economy bounced along in the 2011-12 financial year, posting a 5.5 percent growth rate that is expected to hit 6.25 percent this year.
Speaking at the donor forum, Kan Zaw, Minister for National Planning and Economic Development, said the government was crafting a 20-year economic plan and welcomed “ideas, knowledge, systems and technology” as well as cash assistance.