Govt mulls B4.5bn loan for Myanmar

Thailand is considering granting a 4.5-billion-baht loan to Myanmar to fund an infrastructure development project including the planned construction of a 132-km long road to stretch from the Thai-Myanmar border in Kanchanaburi to the Dawei special economic zone in the neighbouring country.

Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith revealed this on Tuesday, saying the loan request was made by the Myanmar government at last week’s meeting of the joint committee managing the Dawei special economic zone, better known as the Dawei board.

The two-lane road is planned to be constructed from the Ban Phu Namron border checkpoint in Kanchanaburi to the Dawei special economic zone as part of the infrastructure development plan associated with the Dawei project, he said.

The Neighbouring Countries Economic Development Cooperation Agency (Neda) has therefore been assigned to study and draft details of the loan project for Myanmar, he said.

“The Myanmar government has green-lighted this project because it is seen as a key mechanism to bolster the Myanmar economy especially through trade and investment promotion as well as job creation and income generation,” said Mr Arkhom. Myanmar also hopes the project will help generate more income in several communities that will benefit from improvement in the tourism industry of the country with better infrastructure, he said.

The Thai government, he said, will ask Italian-Thai Development Plc (ITD) to speed up the projects to develop a small-sized port and a power plant as the Thai government is now ready to purchase excess power that will be produced in Dawei. Both the port and power plant construction projects are now in the process of designing details of the projects and reporting results of the environmental impact study, he said.

The Thai government is scheduled to attend a meeting of the Dawei board in March when conclusions are expected to be reached on the loan project and the time frame for the construction of the port and the power plant, he said.

ITD has been awarded a 75-year land lease concession on 18,000 rai in its first phase of the projects and 80,000 rai more in the second phase, he said.

At the same meeting last week, the Myanmar government had also requested that Thailand upgrade three temporary and permanent border checkpoints, namely the Mae Sot-Myawaddy permanent checkpoint in Tak province, the Sing Khon-Maw Daung pass in Prachuap Khiri Khan and the Huay Ton Nun pass in Mae Hong Son.

Source: Bangkok Post

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