Posted in Budget Transparency on Apr 30, 2019

The Claim

Pyithu Hluttaw (lower house) MP U Nay Myo Htet (Kyauktada/NLD) asked the Electricity and Energy Minister in the plenary session on 29 April 2019 how the ministry would tackle frequent electricity outages in the summer. Electricity and Energy Deputy Minister claimed in his response that “the Hluttaw needs to approve all the budget proposals from the Electricity and Energy Ministry yearly”. The Ananda fact-checked that claim.

True or False

The Ministry of Electricity and Energy is the agency that is clearly receiving significant amount of budget increases. The 2018-19 FY budget of the ministry more than doubled that of the previous fiscal year.

And the ministry is the one that’s surrendering the underspent budget to the General Reserve Fund which is the account for underspent budget, according to [reports of Joint Public Accounts Committee](( of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw. The underspent budget amounts to around 300 billion MMK each year.

Despite the deputy minister’s complaint about the budget cuts by the parliament, the last two parliamentary budget oversights indicated that the amount cut by the parliament is next to nothing. In 2018-19 FY, the parliament cut 0.01 % of the proposed expenditures of State-owned Economic Enterprises under the ministry and approved everything else for the ministry’s other departments. In 2018 six-month interim budget, the parliament cut 0.1 % of the proposed budget from the entire ministry, which counted for only one project namely Upper Kengtaung Hydropower Project. The project is supposed to start only in 2019-20 FY and scheduled to finish by 2011-22 FY, the same deputy minister reported to the lower house back on 5 January, 2018.

This factcheck only addresses the parliamentary’s budget cut claim of the deputy minister out of his multiple claims about the electricity shortage in the plenary Q&A session. We could conclude with the fact that the ministry didn’t actually face the parliament’s budget cut over at least four years.