BANGKOK (AP) – The political turmoil in Myanmar since the coup could undermine the progress of the years, doubling the number of people living in poverty to almost half the population. It is said in the UN report on Friday.
A report by the United Nations Program Acceleration Program, or the UN NDP, says 12 million people could be in dire economic straits as businesses remain stuck in a junta “mass movement of civil disobedience.”
“The poorest people in the city will suffer the most, the housewives will suffer the most,” Canni Unigarajan, the region’s assistant secretary general, told the Associated Press.
The February 1 coup ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, which arrested more than 3,400 other people. Since then, the military has severely restricted Internet access and gradually stepped up its crackdown on protests.
Many factories, offices, banks, other facilities have been closed, trade has been disrupted due to port closures, other disruptions, say economists familiar with the situation inside Myanmar, among others. This worsened the already gloomy conditions due to the epidemic.
The NDP says conditions could worsen in early 2022, reaching the poverty level last seen in 2005.
The economy grew rapidly after the previous military regime began a partial transition to a civilian government while controlling key ministries, industries, and seats in parliament.
Foreign investment in the clothing, tourism and other industries has created millions of jobs, providing a lifeline for many rural families.
But that progress has stalled as the coup has exacerbated the epidemic.
“As a result of the political crisis, we could see that these profits were taken away in a few months,” Vignarajan said.
Research agency Fitch Solutions predicts that the economy will shrink by 20% in the current fiscal year, which ends in September. In a report released last week, economist Ason Eason Meck noted that food insecurity is on the rise due to accumulation and inflation, while people are closed due to ATM closures and monetary restrictions on paying for necessities.
Myanmar’s weakening before the coup to 3 1,350 to $ 1,650 per dollar also prevents the country from importing much-needed medicine and other supplies.
“We really can’t rule out any worst-case scenario,” Yek told an online briefing.
Until now, foreign governments and companies have tried to put pressure on others in General Ju Aung Hlaing’s junta through targeted sanctions, with the aim of cutting off financial support to the army or Tatmadawi.
The findings of the UN NDP report show that ordinary people are already suffering, regardless of sanctions.
The Nikkei Asia Review reported on Thursday that a group of Independent Economists for Myanmar had published a report calling for foreign exchange sources such as Myanmar’s natural gas exports, its biggest source of income, precious stones and jade.
Sanctions could freeze deposits associated with the State Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank (Myanmar Investment and Commercial Bank).
It says targeting the junta’s hard currency sources with international sanctions could cut its revenue by about $ 2 billion a year.
It said the army preferred spending on weapons and security operations to providing much-needed public services.
The United States has recently imposed sanctions on a company that controls most of Myanmar’s jewelery and pearl jade sales, although much of that trade is illegal.
So far, foreign energy companies in Myanmar’s natural gas industry have opposed calls for the government to cut revenue, saying such moves could endanger their employees and damage access to scarce electricity.