Myanmar Spring Chronicle – March 31 Scenes
MoeMaKa, April 01 2023
People’s resilience with armed conflict and the Myanmar economy, which is declining due to mismanagement
At the beginning of 2020, the Covid pandemic that spread rapidly around the world also hit Myanmar. The shutdown of factories, the imposition of unprecedented restrictions on trade, the imposition of travel restrictions in cities, and the near-cease of border trade have caused significant damage to the economy. At that time, the government implemented some plans to provide subsidies to low-income families from the budget, but it was not able to cover the impact of rising costs and falling incomes.
The economic impact and damage worse than the 2020 Covid-19 disaster came successively after the military coup on February 1, 2021.
The outbreak of armed conflict has directly affected job opportunities, agriculture, and livestock industries. The majority of Myanmar’s people are unable to do their agricultural work, which accounts for their livelihood, because they are fleeing the war. There are also difficulties in exporting the agricultural products produced in the regions where they can do agricultural work, due to border trade difficulties and travel insecurity. These have a great impact on the agricultural industry.
Again, large international companies decided to leave the investment business due to the pressure of business responsibility and business ethics. This has an impact on the market and job opportunities, and the deterioration of basic cargo transportation conditions based on security, the ever-changing foreign currency policy of the military council, and one of the main factors, which is the collection of taxes and the use of most of the revenue from the sale of resources as military expenses, are the reasons for the deterioration of Myanmar’s economy.
These factors happen one after another, and in some cases, they happen collectively, affecting the Myanmar economy, people’s employment, and income significantly. In addition to this, the impact on businesses due to the decline in the rule of law must also be included.
Robbery and extortion in trade, commerce, and shipping have also increased significantly in the last 2 years.
Between April and August 2022, the military council issued one order after another of restrictions regarding foreign currency transfers, and the exchange rate between 1,800 and 2,000 kyats per dollar rose to more than 3,000 kyats in a period of almost 2 months. The military council wanted to control the exchange of foreign currency by power, as well as to prevent money sent from abroad from being used to support opposition organizations, and so it issued orders and regulations to ban it, which caused an unprecedented rise in the price of the Myanmar kyat.
Under these conditions, people have reached a situation where the only way out for survival is to go abroad to work in any kind of job that earns money. From last year to the present, around 40,000-50,000 workers are leaving abroad to work through the official route every month, and an equal number of workers are leaving through the illegal route.
Politically, Myanmar is already a country with widespread civil war, as well as a partially failed country economically. If you ask if the current situation is at its worst, no one can give an exact answer. In the coming months and years, there is still the possibility of experiencing worse situations, and it is difficult to say how much people’s resilience will be.