News / Asia

Burma's Tax System Corrupt, Activists Say

A new report on Burma's tax system says it lacks transparency and accountability, and many taxes are paid to corrupt officials.  Burma rights activists say arbitrary taxation adds another layer to the economic burdens and rights abuses many Burmese suffer.

The report, released in Bangkok, from a network of human-rights organizations said Burma's military has transformed taxation "into extortion and a tool of repression." The government and the military arbitrarily collect taxes in the form of cash, land, goods and labor, said the report, based on interviews with more than 340 people during the past two years.

In addition, people said they are charged arbitrary fees at checkpoints, and forced to pay donations for festivals, school buildings, school registration and equipment.

Economist Alison Vicary from Macquarie University's Burma Economic Watch said Burma's tax system is oppressive and illegitimate.

Alison Vicary from Macquarie, Bangkok, 1 Sept. 2010
Alison Vicary from Macquarie, Bangkok, 1 Sept. 2010

"The agencies collecting taxes are actively involved in the control and suppression of the population," Vicary said. "That much of the taxation that actually collected at the local level is going to the incomes of local officials rather than to the central government."

According to rights activists, military-backed organizations have been extorting funds from communities ahead of the November 7th general elections.

Vicary said the abusive tax system has contributed to Burma's economic deterioration. And she believes little will change after the balloting.

The lack of accountability makes life in Burma harder for much of the population, said Cheery Zahau, a human rights coordinator with the Human Rights Education Institute of Burma

Cheery Zahau, Bangkok, 1 Sept. 2010
Cheery Zahau, Bangkok, 1 Sept. 2010

"It added to the problems to the basic survival, they [Burmese people] cannot save money, they cannot, in many cases, send their children to school," Zahau said. "They do not have enough money for hospitals, for health care anymore.  So it makes the whole social welfare collapse for the people; it becomes a burden for the people."

The report also said the tax system's denies most Burmese the right to an adequate standard of living, health care, housing, food, and education.  It recommends that international donors, such as development banks, should only give Burma aid when governance standards and human-rights protections have improved.

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid