YANGON, Myanmar, July 25 (UPI) -- U.N. officials say the Myanmar government is using its foreign exchange regulations to take a cut of the aid being sent for Cyclone Nargis victims.
Exiles say the military junta is, in effect, taking a 20 percent cut off the top from cash assistance, officials told the Financial Times.
The government requires that all foreign currency brought into Myanmar be converted into what are called foreign exchange certificates, with a value set at parity with the U.S. dollar. But the certificates, when converted to kyat, trade at about 80 cents.
Sean Turnell, an economist at Macquarie University in Sydney, said much of the aid is being delivered to Myanmar, formerly Burma, in the form of goods, which are not affected by the foreign exchange regulations. But he said the government is, in effect, taxing any aid that comes into the country as cash.