U Ohn Than, the coordinator and financial officer of the Paung See Arr Mann Social Development Group, told Mizzima that in order to join the OGP, the Myanmar government needs to promote transparency, declare the property of elected government officials, and give citizens the right to information and increased civic participation.
“If citizens have the right to know about the property of government officials, the citizens will come to trust the government and rely more on the government. And transparency will be promoted,” he said.
The civic group leader was commenting on the sidelines of a workshop on the OGP and the role of civil society in government held at the Summit Parkview Hotel in Yangon from January 19 to 21. A total of 180 representatives from civil society across the country attended the three-day meeting.
In Asia, only Indonesia and Philippines are members of the Open Government Partnership, which was launched in 2011 and now has 65 participating countries.
Law adviser Ko Kyaw Thein said: “If Myanmar becomes a member of the OGP, the international community will respect and support Myanmar more. And as a member of OGP, Myanmar will enjoy more transparency, so foreign investment will increase.”
Daw Nwe Zin Win, a member of the workshop organising committee, said that a steering committee of the OGP, which is composed of representatives of 11 countries and 11 civil societies, will scrutinise the Myanmar government’s activities and decide whether the country should be allowed to join the OGP.
In preparation to join this open government initiative, the Myanmar government announced in November 2014 that it had set up two committees — the Leading Committee and the Working Committee.
The Leading Committee is comprised of chairperson President’s Office Minister U Soe Thein, vice chairperson President’s Office Minister U Tin Naing Thein, and secretary, Union Minister for National Planning and Economic Development Dr Kan Zaw, plus four additional members.
The eight-member Working Committee includes Deputy Finance Minister Dr Maung Maung Thein as chairperson, Deputy Minister for National Planning and Economic Development Dr San Lwin as vice chairperson, and the Director General of the National Planning and Economic Development Ministry as secretary.