Myanmar’s central bank, now controlled by the country’s military government, revoked 123 foreign exchange licences this week used by forex traders, travel agents, airlines, hotels, building companies, gem traders and others, according to a report by Radio Free Asia, which said that they and 44 other firms hit with a similar ban earlier – 167 firms in total – are now barred from trading in dollars because they refused to adhere to the general’s onerous exchange rate.
The central bank imposed an official rate of 2,100 kyat per US dollar in April 2022, however the market rate for the currency has plunged to between 3,300-3,500 kyat amid the country’s deteriorating economic crisis since the coup that overthrew the Suu Kyi government in February 2021, the report said.
Meanwhile, the Central Bank Governor Than Than Swe and 43 other officials at the junta-controlled bank have been designated ‘terrorists’ by the National Unity Government (NUG or government-in-exile) for financing war crimes, a report by Irrawaddy exile news outlet said last week, which explained that the bank had misused public funds and was “complicit in the purchase of military equipment, jet fuel and weapons used to kill civilians”.
In a separate report, however, there was more positive news – that the junta had arrested Lieutenant General Moe Myint Tun, the regime’s notorious no-6-ranked general, known as the “Kickback king” because of his habit of allegedly demanding “at least $20,000 or the equivalent in gold and gifts” from any businesspeople who wanted to meet him.
Moe Myint Tun was accused of pocketing millions in bribes over the past two years after being given the job of overseeing Myanmar’s economic affairs, and heading the junta’s Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) and Foreign Exchange Supervisory Committee. The 55-year-old general, said to savour Louis XIII Cognac, while the bulk of citizens languish in dire poverty, is now allegedly under house arrest.