Myanmar's president promises second wave of reform
YANGON (Reuters) - Myanmar will embark on a "second wave of reforms" that will include tentative privatization and a law on the minimum wage, President Thein Sein said on Tuesday, indicating no let-up in the country's rapid economic overhaul.
"From this year onwards, we are working on a second wave of reforms which will focus especially on the development of the country and the public's welfare," said the former general, who has presided over the managed float of Myanmar's currency and other unprecedented reforms since taking office last year.
An eagerly awaited foreign investment law would be enacted in the next parliamentary session, expected next month, while the government was also drafting laws on industrial zones and a minimum wage.
The government vowed to triple gross domestic product per capita by fiscal 2015/16, Thein Sein said in a televised speech billed by official media as a "state of the union address" on his impoverished country's reform process.
In the wake of sectarian riots in northwest Myanmar that killed 50 people and displaced 30,000, he also vowed to "continue to work on national reconciliation, national peace and stability and the rule of law, and the safety of the public".
Thein Sein, whose quasi-civilian government replaced a military junta that he was a member of 15 months ago, spoke of reducing the state role in several important industries, including telecommunications, electricity, energy, forestry, education, health and "financial matters".
"The privatization that is in the second wave of government reforms does not mean we are going to break them up and sell them," he said.
The president said the government's budget alone would not be enough to achieve its goals and highlighted the need for more foreign help in terms of aid, grants, loans and expertise to reduce poverty and boost the economy.
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