Huge increases needed in infrastructure, social sector spending: ADB

Myanmar will need to make huge increases in infrastructure and social sector spending in the next five years to address shortcomings in transport, electricity and skills, the Asian Development Bank said last week.

Increased spending of up to US$10 billion a year would also be necessary to sustain high inclusive economic growth, the ADB said in its country operations business plan 2016-2018, released on October 15.

It said public infrastructure and social sector investments would need to rise from the current $4 billion to $5 billion a year, to between $10 billion and $15 billion a year from 2020 if the country was to address shortcomings in transport, power and skills; and sustain high inclusive economic growth.

The ADB said policy reforms had supported rapid economic growth of about 8 percent in the fiscal year beginning April 1, 2014 and were expected to drive stronger expansion in the next three years.

It cautioned that inflation would likely accelerate this fiscal year and that stresses in fiscal and external accounts were also expected to increase.

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The country operations business plan builds on the interim country partnership strategy prepared after the ABD re-engaged with Myanmar in 2012 in response to reforms launched the previous year.

The COBP reflects an agreed gradual shift towards increased sector focus and selectivity, focussing on transport, energy, education and training, the ABD said.

“It begins to apply a long-term programmatic approach in the core sectors, and is coordinated and aligned with the evolving strategies and sector activities of other development partners,” it said.

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