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Myanmar aims to reduce poverty level by 10%

Myanmar aims to reduce its poverty level by an ambitious 10 per cent to 16 per cent by next year.

YANGON: Myanmar aims to reduce its poverty level by an ambitious 10 per cent to 16 per cent by next year.

Myanmar's Vice President Nyan Tun made the announcement to some 8,000 workers at a rural development event in Yangon.

Earning just US$2 a day is common for many in Myanmar, and the government wants to change that by helping the poor level up.

One way of doing so is by providing government loans to small local businesses, which ordinarily have no access to financial assistance.

"By providing these loans, people will enjoy regular incomes. They can then start to channel their money towards caring for their healthcare and education needs. So the people's lives will get better.

“With these small loans, they can invest the money, and invest in buying equipment and doing business. That's why these loans are essential to help reduce poverty,” said Vice President Nyan Tun.

The target for a 16 per cent poverty rate within one year might seem ambitious for Myanmar, but it sets a timeline for everyone to work towards.

Dr Maung Maung Lay, vice president of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said: "A target has to be set in order not to be complacent -- to see that these targets are accomplished in order to alleviate poverty.

“Apart from the loan, the money has to come and it has to be on a sustainable basis, and to make sure that the loans are being used properly. Aside from that, they have to be taught ways and means to generate income -- and the vocational training, the education, have to be done in many areas just to teach them and to cultivate them and to nurture them."

According to the United Nations, Myanmar remains one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia.

Agriculture is a key economic driver in the country and employs over 60 per cent of the workforce.

That is why the government has identified agriculture as one of the main sectors to improve by providing farmers with microfinance, equipment and vehicles.  

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