Democracy supporters in Japan are raising funds by selling raffle tickets to support the Burmese revolution in August.
Through The Irrawaddy October 5, 2021
The Committee representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (Union Parliament) – the CRPH approved its Union Tax Law on September 20 and the civilian National Unity Government (NUG) urged the public, especially businesses, to pay voluntarily taxes.
The trade tax is suspended for the new fiscal year 2021-2022 (until next September) and the personal income tax exemption is adjusted to help low-income families.
On Sunday, NUG’s Ministry of Planning, Finance and Foreign Investment said domestic and foreign taxpayers can start paying their taxes online through a self-assessment process.
If the junta falls, these taxpayers will be recognized for their civic responsibility and special tax relief incentives will be considered, the ministry said.
Tax is exempt for families with incomes below 1 million kyat (US $ 534) per month, while the threshold below which the previous tax law was collected was 400,000 kyat per month.
NUG projects aim to ease the tax burden on those facing hardship due to the military regime, COVID-19 and soaring commodity prices, said U Tin Tun Naing, Minister of Planning, Finance and NUG Foreign Investments.
The Burmese army has killed more than 1,100 civilians and detained more than 7,000 people since taking power on February 1.
The minister said that NUG, as a legitimate people’s government, acts legally when generating revenue.
In addition to tax revenue, NUG plans to secure its own source of income by selling bonds and lottery tickets. In an exclusive interview, U Tin Tun Naing details NUG’s revenue raising plan in addition to a lottery and donations from fundraising.
The new tax law for this year has given a lot of tax breaks to people. Because of this, are you worried about public funds? The NUG seems to need a huge budget to support the population. Can the revenue collection plan work?
To enact this Union tax legislation, we need a different approach than in previous years. Myanmar is under the terrorist army which has plundered the power of the people. Meanwhile, people are suffering from hardships, including COVID-19.
At present, we should not pass this tax law purely on the basis of our need for income.
Therefore, we take every factor into consideration and ensure that the tax law helps people and reduces the burden on their daily life. We consider the strata of the taxable population. While we are all facing a military regime, we think pragmatically and people can willingly cooperate to pay taxes.
You have given tax breaks and created other ways to replenish the tax budget. NUG sells tickets for the “Spring Lottery”. Last month you said there were about 250,000 confirmed lottery ticket orders. Since the lottery opened on October 1, can you tell us about the actual sales?
Yes. The lottery, the winners of which we first announced on October 1, is a pilot project. About 250,000 lottery tickets have received confirmed orders from these pilot sales [last month]. However, when the agent contacted the buyers, we were unable to contact them.
Due to a lack of technical knowledge, some of them may not have been able to complete the lottery process successfully. As a result, 30-40% of confirmed orders were canceled. Payments for the remainder of lottery ticket sales have been successfully transferred to CDM [civil disobedience movement] Staff.
More than 400,000 civil servants participate in the CDM. What percentage of spring lottery sales went to strikers? How many CDM employees received support?
The objective of Spring Lottery sales is to provide support to the MDP strikers, who exceed 400,000. Even if it is not able to cover the support of all, we intend to support them in a to some extent. From this trial period, we were able to support some 3,000 to 4,000 CDM employees.
Among the 400,000 CDM employees, we have selected those who are the most vulnerable and need more support. They are the priority. Therefore, we plan to support CDM staff in need during the Spring Lottery commercial launch this month.
Does the pilot project last only one month?
Yes. We only sold lottery tickets for 10 days with only one hour per day.
When we start the commercial launch, we will be selling tickets for at least eight hours a day. We review the challenges and weaknesses of this mass ticket pilot project. After the review, we plan to begin the commercial launch at the end of the month.
You also plan to sell bonds in addition to the lottery. How are bind to make sales? Are people interested?
The bond has not yet been sold. The sale of bonds will generate income for NUG. It is a question of supplementing the State budget. But for now, we are still working on technical platforms and others. We will start selling bonds as soon as possible. We will let people know how to buy them online. We hear people actively waiting for the process to begin.
You said the government needed over $ 800 million for its budget. What percentage of that money are you currently receiving?
We need almost $ 800 million to support NUG’s education, health and humanitarian aid for children, pregnant women and the elderly.
This amount excludes defense spending.
We are working in two ways to complete the required budget. The first is to coordinate with international partners and governments to support internally displaced people, refugees, maternity benefits, health and the deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine. It’s project by project.
We will also sell bonds to support NUG income. We will be looking for tax revenues that people are willing to pay under Union tax law.
We will be organizing expatriate and national level donations, although groups have already started fundraising for NUG. Together they will cover some of our current projects.
According to tax law, tax collection started this week. It is too early to say how many will come out. We have been contacted by business owners and taxpayers at home and abroad saying they will pay their taxes.
There are at least 7-8 million nationals living abroad. Suppose there are a million people who believe in this revolution and want to overthrow the military dictatorship who each buy a bond. If we set the price at $ 500 per bond, we will have $ 500 million in bond sales.
If the people participate in paying taxes and buying bonds, the revolution will succeed.
This budget only includes three or four departments. Are you ready for the overall budget as well, including other departments, such as defense?
Since the February 1 coup, people have donated to NUG and CRPH in various forms. Over $ 9 million has been raised on the CRPH gofundme account and recent raffle sales have received over $ 7 million. These two amounts are transparent revenues.
As a government, we have defense spending. However, it is secret at the moment. We will reveal it when the time comes.
How to ensure digital security for donors? Have there been any cyber attacks against Spring Lottery sales?
During the lottery pilot, we paid special attention to the digital security of ticket buyers and CDM staff. However, the military has frozen some money transfer services, such as Wave and KPay, which are dedicated to the CDM lottery. But the junta is not in a position to block our lottery.
It is the same now that we collect taxes. If someone wants to pay taxes, they just need an e-mail, which could be specially configured.
People don’t have to give their real names. We will use the email to send funds to the NUG bank.
Taxpayers can calculate how much they will pay on the return. People could ask friends overseas to arrange the payments. When they have paid, a unique identification number is issued. The taxpayer must register this tax code.
If they don’t tell anyone, no one will know they paid their taxes. It is safe and secure.
After the revolution, taxpayers can show their tax identification number as proof of their payments. We will have a record of what has been paid and our government will be able to grant a special tax amnesty.
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