Following is the unofficial translation of the full text of the speech delivered by State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi at the meeting with business leaders in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday.
State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said private businesses are vital for developing countries and thus priority is given toward the participation of businesses in this important matter. However, all need to be duty conscious in this matter.
It is important for every citizen to do their duty for the development of the country. In the economy, some say the government didn’t do this or that. We’ll accept such criticism. But at the same time, businesses also need to bear in mind that they also have duties and responsibilities. Our democratic system will succeed only when the people themselves believe that they have duties and are capable of performing them. If everything is to be done by the government, then, this is no longer a democracy. If there is no understanding about an economic system that is appropriate for democracy, there wouldn’t be success. When we attempt to work together, we all need to think what we can do and what our duties are. Corruption is most liable to occur in business/economy. A country’s economic dignity depends on how corruption free that country is.
Recently meetings were conducted between the Anti-Corruption Commission and some business persons. The Commission chairman reported to me about concerns expressed by business persons and the concerns were on corruption. It is a good sign for our country that business persons despise corruption. But in some cases, it depends on business persons. For example, corruption is not a one sided thing. There is the giver and there is the taker. If there is no giver, can there be a taker? Some say if they don’t give, they can’t get the job done. In that case, they can complain to us officially. We will not ignore it. We will take action. But if no one complains or reports, it is difficult for us to take action. It is said that corruption is rampant among the staff (public servants). But it is not possible for the government to know everything. People need to talk (report). Business persons also need to help in this.
If our country is known by the world as corruption free in the economic sector, there’ll be more people willing to invest in our country with trust. Most complaints are on tender matters. There are irregularities in tenders. This is related to corruption and we want to be informed about it. The Tender process is a big challenge for us. It is because of the slowness in tender matters that projects in our country were not completed on time.
As such, government departments, state/region governments are prioritizing in speeding up the tenders work. We set detailed guidelines on how this is to be done. On the other hand, business persons need to help out. Don’t feel upset when you see irregularities. Inform us. Give us details about who from which department did what. We will take action. As we take action, these things will gradually disappear. I want it to disappear quickly. Complaints about tenders being slow and having irregularities are connected to corruption.
Another thing is we have too many red tapes. the Republic of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry had repeatedly submitted about the many stages that need to be done. Therefore, our Ministry of Planning and Finance and MIC (Myanmar Investment Commission) is focusing on doing things quickly. We are arranging on not to wait a long time for a thing to be done or to be stuck in one of the many stages. I also like to request to help us by pointing out where the bottle-necks are. Only when we know about it can we solve it. In some cases, we don’t know as it is difficult to know everything. Economic development is very important for our country. It is important from the political side as well. This is the time where economic wealth is becoming a real force. On the world stage, there is a connection between our weakness in political power and our weakness in economic power. We need the help of business persons for our manpower, brain power and influence to develop. A sustainable and balanced economic development plan from 2018 to 2030 has been envisioned so that everyone knows clearly how we plan to help.
This plan is for the sustained and balanced development for our country. In our economy, we need experts and qualified persons who are on par with the rest of the world. This is related to the education sector. On the health sector, our people can be bright and smart but if they are not healthy, it would be useless. That is why we are looking at the health sector too. Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan is setup so that all can support by knowing our country’s requirements and priorities. This plan will be implemented soon. In this plan, I want to talk about NECC (National Economic Coordination Committee). Weakness in cooperation between departments, state/region governments and central government, within state/region governments are the major hindrance for development of Myanmar. Due to weakness in cooperation, the economy didn’t progress as much as it should. Most complaints were on this. As soon as our government took up the responsibility, we want to encourage such cooperation and formed the NECC. After it was formed, there was not as much development as we wanted but soon a momentum was achieved. Some business persons may notice this. Without such cooperation, our country wouldn’t develop. When NECC leads in the implementation everything will become possible. We will see what is required most for our country’s development and implement it. I like our business people becoming rich. It is good for the country if our country has rich people. All need to work together for the development of our country.
For us to progress at this time, we need to trust one another and must be loyal towards each other. Being loyal to one another is in the end being loyal to the country. If we are loyal and do things hand in hand there will be progress.
Some don’t want our government to succeed. There shouldn’t be this sort of mindset. We are not doing things so that our government succeeds. We are doing things so that our country succeeds. If the country succeeds, the government succeeds. If the country didn’t succeed, our government couldn’t succeed. In other words, making our government fail is to make our country fail. Here, we need to know what success is. Success is not making the people in the government rich. It is to make the whole people rich.
I’m not saying it is difficult for our government to do things. It is to make things easy for the people to live and do things smoothly. Help us to make our country succeed.
We will not look back to the past and treat those who treat us in the same way. We will not look at any business person by linking that business person to the past. The past is past. The present is the most important. How we will do now, where will we head towards, what support is provided for the country to develop. We only look at these main points.
In looking at what support is provided for the country to develop, the most important thing is peace. Peace and national reconciliation. National reconciliation is stability. If we are not at peace among ourselves, this country wouldn’t be stable. When we strive towards peace and stability, we need much help from the business persons. Here, I’d like to say thank you. When I ask the help of our people to resolve the problems in Rakhine State, the business persons were at the forefront to help. Some were surprised by this. The world was surprised. The world was surprised that in this country, the people and the business persons came together to help.
This is the strength of our country. When the NRPC (National Reconciliation and Peace Centre) was formed and a request made for assistance in peace, not only business persons but ordinary people came to help and donate.
The role of these small helps and donations are not smaller but equal to the millions donated by business persons. The will of the people are equal here. Practically, the help and donations provided by the business persons were more effective. In the Rakhine State also, when we requested financial assistance to our business persons, they came to help and I thank them for that too. If we continue like this our country will definitely progress. I don’t think there is no other country in the world with the kind of problems we had to face. We are trying to stop the longest running civil war and bring peace to the country. The entire world is looking at Rakhine State so we are trying to resolve it as soon as possible. In such circumstances we all need to be united and work hand in hand.
These are politics. Another purely economic matter is the agriculture sector. To date, our country is based on agriculture. 70 per cent of our people are living in rural areas. Now more and more people from rural areas are moving to urban areas to seek jobs. Looking at this from another side means there are more jobs in urban areas but we need to have a long term aim.
We want our country to be a country with sustainable development. I want all to think about everything practically. Our people, especially business persons, business persons who are successful in their businesses must think what sort of country we should become. Think what type of economy our country should have.
If we look at things practically, can’t we make our country a modern, developed industrial country based on agriculture? If we are to do this, business persons need to plan well in advance from the start.
In the past there were no such businesses. There was no plan to invest by linking the agriculture sector development and industrial sector development. But now, think along this line and implement it. In thinking of doing new things and new ways, now I’d like to talk about our youth.
The other day, I went to a conference on higher education. Youths showed me their inventions. I was much encouraged from what I saw. Our youngsters invested things out of what little they had. I want our business persons to encourage this. Encourage in two ways. Provide investment in research. And think about using these inventions in the business sector.
Our youths still have a long way to go but here, there are many friendly countries who want to help. I want to urge the business persons to encourage the creativity of our youths. Coordinate and connect with the Ministry of Education and relevant departments to encourage research and make your own businesses progress.
The State will do its best for the economy. Business persons should also come together and put in their best efforts. The most important thing is to make our economy corruption free. Only then can other countries trust and respect us. Reputable businesses would then want to invest in our country. They would want to work with our business people. Encourage cooperation between government and private sector, between central and state/region governments. Help out in the works conducted by NECC. Development shouldn’t be for a year or two only. Even five years is meaningless. Development needs to be sustained. Implement together a sustainable economic development system. Suggest to us openly with good will. Suggest directly to the relevant ministries and departments so that things can be done quickly.
Some business persons suggested on more participation of banks in economic development. All need to pitch in and work towards achieving success. The most important thing is peace and stability. Help the country to achieve this. The help is for the development and success of the country. Not the success of the government. It is for the people to have a better life and to stand tall in the world.
For this, we need to have financial strength. But as we don’t have enough financial strength, we make this up with our moral strength and unity. I want to urge all business persons to put in not only good will and unity but also their strength of their knowledge and wisdom for the country. I will conclude by urging you all to use your knowledge and wisdom to find a solution.