( Mray Bon, 4 June 2013): The farmers of Arakan are being forced to pay nearly one lakh Kyat as a bribe by the local authority for agricultural loan, allege a number of farmers from different parts of the State.
They allege that the officials claim the amount for processing the formalities of loan, which is offered by the government.
The incident come as a surprise to the conscious citizens of Burma (Myanmar), as the present reformist government led by U Thein Sein announced of a clean government and assured good governance for the people.
A farmer of Ngwe Twin Htoo village in Mray Bon Township disclosed that they had to pay nearly one lakh Kyat per head for the agriculture loans.
The Myanmar agriculture development bank is preparing to lend loans to the farmers in our area. As we come to know about the loan, we apply for our National ID cards, clearance paper for debts and other testimonials from various government departments. But when we met the concerned officials, we got disappointed with their views, said the farmer.
We come to know that a farmer has to pay 20,000 Kyat for a sign by officials from revenue department, 9000 Kyat for another sign from township agriculture officials, 20000 Kyat for national ID card (otherwise 5000 Kyat for family unit list), 20000 Kyat for a ledger book to withdraw money from the bank and 4000 Kyat for another paper.
Thus finally we have to spend from 80000 to 100000 Kyat for the agriculture loan, he added.
The farmer claimed that if they don’t pay the bribes to the local authority, they would not get the loans or it will take very long time. Because of this, many farmers have already paid the bribe amount to the officials.
Another farmer from Rambree also alleged about the practice. He argues that for a middle class farmer may not find it difficult to pay one lakh Kyat as the bribe; but for a poor farmer having only two or three acres of land, it would be really difficult to gather this amount of money for bribing the officials.
Recently a village administration clerk came to the farmers and asked for one thousand Kyat from each farmer as the bribe for the ledger book which was to be received from the township office for processing the loans. Nearly 150 farmers in the village were asked to pay the amount, the farmer concluded.
The farmers received loans of 2 lakh Kyat per acre of land last year as the rainy season began, but the authority did not mention about the rate of interest against the loan amount. Now the farmers hope that the authority would offer same amount of money as agricultural loans with similar rate of interest this year too.