External debt over the last year has risen as a result of the higher dollar exchange rate, according to the Public Accounts Joint Committee report which was submitted to Pyidaungsu Hluttaw by secretary U Khin Maung Than last month.
Myanmar’s total outstanding external debt as at March 31 had soared to US$10.2 billion, which is $819 million more than if the exchange rate had remained unchanged, U Khin Maung Than said.
“This is because the loans were given to Myanmar when the exchange rate was K900 per dollar. However, the exchange rate has since risen by 66 percent to K1500 per dollar,” said U Than Soe who is a Pyithu Hluttaw representative and member of the Joint Public Accounts Committee.
Myanmar currently owes money to 21 countries. The funds are deployed within 16 ministries, of which the Ministry of Electricity and Energy accounts for more than 30pc followed by the Ministry of Planning and Finance at around 24pc.
Along with the Ministry of Transport and Communication and Ministry of Industry the four ministries are the largest borrowers of external debt, said U Khin Maung Than.
As the government has not undertaken proper investments that make good returns, the respective ministries need to consider a policy on sustainably repaying the country’s external debt as the burden of higher dollar exchange rates gets larger, said U Maung Maung Lay, vice chair of the Union of Myanmar Federation Chambers of Commerce and Industry.