A Proposal For A Currency Board In A Democratic Burma

A Proposal for a Currency Board in a Democratic Burma

By Sean Turnell*


This paper argues that a currency board will provide a newly-democratic Burma with the stable monetary system it will need after decades of currency debasement under military rule. An old idea that has successfully re-emerged in recent years in a number of countries, currency boards are relatively simple and transparent institutions that can provide stability, predictability and credibility to an emerging economy's monetary institutions. Currency boards impose certain constraints on the ability of governments to conduct discretionary economic policies. The advantages they bring in establishing confidence in the currency, however, outweighs such considerations in countries whose greater need is the establishment of the sound foundations of a market economy.

The 'Currency Board' arrangement is a plan desperately needed in a country rebuilding itself, and where there had been a widespread mistrust of government and the banking system.

Peter Nicholl
Governor, Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina


Burma's economy is a disaster. Forty years of inept economic management under military-rule has reduced a once relatively prosperous economy, the ubiquitous 'rice bowl of Asia', into a country that qualifies as 'least developed' by the World Bank. Extreme poverty, endemic corruption, rampant inflation, negligible foreign exchange reserves, large monetised budget deficits, foreign debt arrears and a currency that barely qualifies as a means of exchange - are all features of Burma's economy and symptoms of a country in broader socio-political distress. Burma's economic and social problems are such that in all likelihood they ...
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