UNU-WIDER and the Central Statistical Organization (CSO) of the Ministry of Planning and Finance of Myanmar, supported financially by Danida, are working together to strengthen evidence-based policy-making and analysis, supporting the country’s move through a challenging structural transformation and development process.
A cornerstone of the ‘Towards inclusive development in Myanmar’ project is the establishment of a rigorous Myanmar Enterprise Monitoring System (MEMS) focused on the industrial small and medium enterprise (SME) sector. The MEMS is primarily aimed at improving information and knowledge about economic policy issues in Myanmar and strengthening the government’s capacity to appropriately address key development challenges associated with the country’s reform process, especially regarding SMEs.
The MEMS stands on four pillars: biannual quantitative and qualitative/experimental surveys; in-depth policy relevant research and analysis; dissemination of research findings and policy recommendations; as well as building capacity amongst CSO staff. As an outcome, the MEMS will foster transparency and openness in the public discussion on policy options engaging all relevant stakeholders.
The development potential of the private business sector in contributing to inclusive, sustainable growth and shared prosperity — a declared government priority — goes beyond that of the formal large-scale firm sector located in major cities. The distributional considerations of increasing wealth generation are a central policy issue, which the MEMS will address through a nationally representative effort, based on comprehensive quantitative data collection, to better understand the dynamics and constraints of the private industrial enterprises at large. The aim is to strengthen CSO’s planning and analytical capacity and increase the number of policy studies used in policy formulation.
Another important component of the project is the development of a Social Accounting Matrix (SAM) for Myanmar. A SAM is a consistent data framework that captures data and information contained in national income accounts and industry and product accounts, as well as the monetary flows between the institutions of the economy. SAMs are economy-wide databases used in conjunction with analytical techniques to strengthen the evidence underlying policy formulation processes and decision-making. SAMs are also the underlying data for Computerized General Equilibrium (CGE) models, and the project will carry out a series of CGE studies on key policy issues.