Monday, June 16, 2008

Myanmar Denies Cyclone Aid Taxes

According to a new article from the AP, Myanmar's has denied reports that they have been deducting a 10 percent tax from foreign donations to cyclone victims. Government officials claim that all incoming money is being spent on relief efforts. Below is a snippet of the article, to read the full thing check out Myanmar denies cyclone aid is being taxed from the Associated Press.

“The state-owned New Light of Myanmar newspaper said foreign radio broadcasts had wrongly accused the government of deducting the tax from donations deposited in the Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank.

The state bank, which usually deducts 10 percent from all foreign currency deposits, has opened special accounts to accept U.S. dollars, euros and Singapore dollars from which all donations would be fully channeled to cyclone survivors, the newspaper said.

Organizations and individuals that have misused relief funds sent from abroad will be punished, it said.

The United Nations estimates Cyclone Nargis affected 2.4 million people and that more than 1 million of them, mostly in the hardest-hit Irrawaddy delta, still need help. The cyclone, which struck May 2-3, killed more than 78,000, according to the government.

In separate reports, state media said there have been no outbreaks of contagious diseases in storm-hit areas and that 911 staffers from international aid organizations and neighboring countries were issued visas to enter the country between May 5 and June 5.

The junta has been criticized for dragging its feet on issuing visas and, until recently, not allowing foreign aid workers into the Irrawaddy delta, where most of the victims are.”

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