As part of the project ‘Towards inclusive development in Myanmar’, UNU-WIDER has provided technical support in developing the Myanmar Enterprise Monitoring System (MEMS). During the course of the work, it became clear that Myanmar had a statistical data gap for carrying out economy-wide studies and analyses — namely the lack of a Social Accounting Matrix (SAM).
After positive results from a feasibility study on SAM, the Central Statistical Organization (CSO) of Myanmar and UNU-WIDER decided to add a new sub-component, focusing on SAM building and analysis, to the MEMS programme for implementation in 2019 and 2020. The agreement to develop a SAM was signed by the Director of UNU-WIDER, Professor Finn Tarp, and Director General of the Central Statistical Organization of Myanmar, Dr Wah Wah Maung, on 28 August 2018.
The purpose of the MEMS is to provide information and knowledge about economic policy issues in Myanmar and strengthen the country’s capacity to appropriately address key development challenges associated with the reform process, especially regarding small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
A SAM represents flows of all economic transactions that take place within an economy in a given year. It draws the national accounts in a matrix format and adds non-national and institutional accounting flows, thus providing a coherent overview picture of the economy. It is an indispensable pedagogical learning and analytical tool that is used to understand the structure of an economy. It is also useful in building consistent macroeconomic models and assessing the impact of economic policies, such as trade and tax policies.
The SAM sub-component will broaden the MEMS data-generating capacity and analytical scope. This will further strengthen evidence-based policy-making that will help Myanmar move through a challenging structural transformation and development process. In addition to constructing the SAM using new data, the sub-component will include a series of workshops to facilitate the application of the analytical tools and produce several research papers during the initiative.