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Myanmar Junta Plans Digital Lottery to Shore Up State R...

Business Maverick

Business Maverick

Myanmar Junta Plans Digital Lottery to Shore Up State Revenue

Zaw Min Tun in 2019. Photographer: STR/AFP/Getty Images
By Bloomberg
18 Feb 2022 0

Myanmar's military regime plans to start an online lottery in the next two months as it hunts for new revenue streams to offset a slump in tax collections from an economy battered by the pandemic and the exit of foreign companies following the coup.   

The digital raffle will be started in partnership with private companies, and the authorities are in talks with several local and foreign firms, according to Zaw Min Tun, the lead spokesman for the State Administration Council. The initiative will supplement the government’s existing physical lottery business, and participants can use bank accounts and other authorized payment channels, he added.

“We aim to launch it either in March or April but if things go as planned, we’re in a favorable position to launch it earlier,” Zaw Min Tun said in an interview. “It’ll depend on how far our discussions with these companies go.”

The plans for digital raffle follows a slump in tax collected from its traditional lottery business and the reported success of a similar offering by the parallel National Unity Government floated by the supporters of Myanmar’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The nation’s economy contracted an estimated 18% last year, according to the World Bank, which sees a “critically weak” outlook for growth this year as well.

Read more about Myanmar economy:

 

Zaw Min Tun said Myanmar’s economic decline began under the civilian government after it failed to support local businesses and instead relied on external loans and international financial support. The country’s finances were further squeezed after the U.S. froze part of its foreign reserves and multilateral agencies suspended aid, sending the kyat down 34% last year.

The State Administration Council headed by Min Aung Hlaing will continue to take steps to shore up the economy and overcome the “politically motivated” sanctions and western countries’ efforts to block the junta’s access to finance, Zaw Min Tun said.

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