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YCDC – What do residents really think?


Yangon residents and businesses pay a lot of taxes, and in return expect particular services or utilities to be provided for by the government. A reliable water supply, clean and well-maintained streets, or having access to public recreational facilities are a few of the expectations some taxpayers have.

Exactly what Yangon’s five million residents think of these services, and whether the government provides value for the taxpayer’s Kyats, is hard to gauge.

Publically very little is known about residents’ satisfaction with YCDC – until now, that is.

The Myanmar Democracy Research Network (MDRN) conducted a survey to find exactly what residents think of their city’s development committee, measuring respondents’ satisfaction with eight different management issues: stray dogs, waste management, water supply, streets and roads, markets, public parks, taxation and electricity.

Whilst questions were asked about electricity supply, this last category is not YCDC’s responsibility so responses in the survey don’t reflect residents’ attitude towards the committee.

So what did the numbers say?

60 percent of the residents believed that the YCDC were doing a good job, but a detailed look at the numbers reveal mixed attitudes towards management issues in the city.

Stray dogs

YCDC is responsible for stray dogs in the city, as well as the maintenance of the waste disposal system that sometimes attracts many of the city’s canines. YCDC also responds to complaints about dog bites, usually to remove stray dogs from the streets.

The number of stray dogs has increased over the past two years, according to over half of the people surveyed.

Two thirds of the residents in the survey also said they disliked strays, and were happy to see them removed from the street.

More than 10 percent accepted the dogs as they were, whilst the remaining 15 percent were neither bothered by or accepting of them.

60 percent of respondents said they were happy with YCDC’s dog clearing operations, though most didn’t approve of poisoning as a method to euthanise them.

A massive 90 percent said that they wanted the YCDC to implement a program of reproductive control, or to remove the dogs to shelters, as a way of dealing with the growing stray population.

Waste management

More than 60 percent of the survey respondents said that they thought the city was clean, which is perhaps more of a reflection of the changes taking place in the city over the past ten years.

A decade ago it was common to see rubbish piled up for weeks on end, rotting on the street in the heat and rain.

Yangon currently disposes more than 2000 tones of rubbish every day, and YCDC is responsible for collecting this waste. Orange clad workers help to sort the rubbish, which is often dumped in the giant orange wheelie bins on the main roads outside housing complexes or apartments.

Despite these new improvements, survey respondents said they had little knowledge of how the waste sorting system worked.

Water supply

As the population in the city grows, so too does the demand for water. A reliable water supply remains a problem for many Yangon residents.

Currently many residents receive water sourced by YCDC from the Gyo Phyu dam, which is some 80 kilometers to the north of the city, while others receive water from private distributors.

Approximately 70 percent of the population said that the water was not supplied in their wards by the YCDC, but thought it more convenient if it was.

Most of the townships which received water from YCDC pipelines were happy to pay the current rates for their water supply, according to the survey.

Streets and roads

One of the most visible changes in the city over the past five years has been the fixing of roads and potholes on the pavements. The survey also covered questions about street cleanliness, safety and lighting.

60 percent of those surveyed believed that the YCDC did come to clean the streets and roads regularly. Many people said that they wanted better street signs and lighting (37 percent), to improve the overall safety of residents in the city.

Markets

Around 90 percent of respondents said they bought groceries from street markets, those which are overseen by the YCDC. But 60 percent of people weren’t happy with the condition of the streets where the markets were located, saying they were smelly and unhygienic.

Though customers were generally happy with the produce at the street markets, just over half were satisfied with YCDC’s management of the space around the stalls.

Public parks

Many people surveyed were happy with Yangon’s parks, as well as YCDC’s management of them, saying they were safe and easy to get to. 70 percent said that their favourite time to visit was between 1pm and 3pm.

Despite being satisfied with current park facilities, the survey showed that 45 percent of residents wanted more parks in the city.

Taxes

The survey reported that 70 percent of city dwellers pay taxes to the YCDC every month, but most people were unsure as to what the taxes were used for.

More than 60 percent said that they thought the current tax rates were fair, though 80 percent were still confused as to exactly how much, and for what items, taxes should be collected.

The survey

Given that the services covered in the survey are paid for with tax payers money, this last point is an important one. It’s useful to know exactly how much money is collected and spent, to allow residents to better assess the quality of public services and utilities, as well as the government organisations which manage them.

The MDRN combined with seven civil organisations this April to conduct the survey, questioning some 510 people in 85wards of 16 townships in Yangon’s municipality area.

Source: Myanmar Times

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