Myanmar shadow government raises $100m to oppose junta

Myanmar shadow government raises $100m to oppose junta

In this file photo taken on May 02, 2021 protesters hold posters in support of the National Unity Government (NUG) during a demonstration against the military coup on “Global Myanmar Spring Revolution Day” in Taunggyi, Shan state. (AFP)

Myanmar’s shadow National Unity Government said it has raised more than $100 million to fund its democracy effort and topple the junta.

About 45% of the funds are from the sales of so-called Spring Revolution Special Treasury Bonds, according to Tin Tun Naing, shadow minister for planning, finance and investment. The debt doesn’t pay interest and the capital will be repaid only when the democracy effort is successful.

Funds were also raised through the auction of military-linked properties. While buyers won’t have immediate access to the properties which they had successfully bid on and paid for, the National Unity Government has promised they will be awarded the assets after the junta is displaced.

Among the real estate assets that were open for bids were two mansions owned by junta chief Min Aung Hlaing and military-seized properties, Tin Tun Naing said at a press briefing Sunday. The funds will be “effectively used in different sectors” to ensure positive results from the democracy fight in about a year, he said.

The shadow government will soon legalise an Initial Coin Offering to put cryptocurrencies at the centre of its finance plan while accepting fixed deposits in the form of money transfers and crypto deposits in a bank that will be set up soon, Tin Tun Naing said.

“To ensure the revolution will bear fruit in one year, we will make use of blockchain and cryptocurrencies to establish the Spring Development Bank by the end of next month,” he said. Anyone keen on funding the government is encouraged to use its banking functions which will be available in the first quarter of this year, he said.

The group previously tried to gain access to $1 billion of funds frozen by the US since February 2021, when the country’s armed forces toppled a civilian government. Allies of deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi make up the shadow government, which remains confident it can regain control of the entire country soon.

Nobel laureate Suu Kyi, 77, is serving a 33-year sentence after she was found guilty of a slew of criminal charges including corruption and inciting dissent against the military.

The shadow government has earned 3 billion kyat ($1.43 million) from collecting taxes in 38 out of 330 townships across Myanmar, where resistance groups are in control. It will also implement a program where proceeds from natural resources and mining sectors will be used to build a crowdfunding platform, Tin Tun Naing said.

“Our investors know perfectly well they will be benefit only if this revolution is successful, but they keep investing in our projects due to their belief,” he said, singling out an unidentified individual who has contributed $6 million to the National Unity Government’s plans.