YANGON — The government plans to move the General Administration Department under civilian control by transferring it out of the Ministry of Home Affairs, spokesman U Zaw Htay says.
Zaw Htay told reporters at the president’s residence on Friday that the government had already issued an instruction to shift the GAD and its tens of thousands of staff to the Ministry of the Union Government Office.
“The policy has been already laid down. We are working according to the procedure to implement it,” he said.
He said the move would “strengthen the administrative structure and make it more effective”.
The recent appointment of U Min Thu – formerly a deputy minister in the President’s Office – as minister for the Union government office was “part of the plan”, Zaw Htay said.
The transfer of the GAD will be one of the most significant reforms undertaken by the National League for Democracy government.
The GAD is a powerful institution with offices throughout the country, including more than 16,000 wards and village tracts where administrators are elected by their communities.
It has a remit ranging from maintaining law and order to managing land and collecting taxes. Its officers – many of whom are former military officers – work closely with the military, police and judiciary.
Since the transition in 2011 its role has expanded to include providing staff for state and region governments and legislatures.
A 2014 Asia Foundation discussion paper described the GAD as the “backbone of Myanmar’s public administration”. “With 36,080 staff spread across the country, the GAD maintains a ubiquitous presence built around its administrators, particularly at the all-important township level,” it said.