The General Administrative Department (GAD) is central to the functioning of the government administration across the country and forms the backbone of Myanmar’s civil service. While being a department of a Union ministry it has offices at every level of government, with its township offices being the main interface for most Myanmar citizens with their government.
Myanmar’s 330 townships is where the bulk of the public administration occurs and where key government functions are exercised, including population registration, land registration and most forms of tax collection. The GAD is responsible in providing some of these services as well coordinating between various Union, and State and Regional government departments functioning at the township level.
For private businesses and investors their most likely interaction with the GAD is at the township level, where the township administrator is responsible for the issuing of a key licenses, as well as being the place one must go to transfer, register or change the type of land.
The GAD has historically been a department under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA), one of the Ministries reserved for the Tatmadaw (the Myanmar constitution provides that the military controls several ministries). In December 2018, the GAD was shifted to be under the Ministry of the Office of the Union Government, a ministry not under Tatmadaw control.
These changes have now been undone, under the State Administrative Council order no 119/2021, control of the GAD has been returned to MOHA.
For investors and private business, the impact should not be significant as it is unlikely to affect the services which are provided by the GAD. The impact of the changes will be more at a policy level and relate to the development of public administration within Myanmar.