Economic opportunities in Rakhine State

Rakhine State is rich in natural resources. It has many rivers, lakes, ponds and is connected to the ocean. Good ports exist and as improvement to road links are being made, trade, local and foreign investments are increasing. The government is emphasizing on investment and trade in order to increase production in agriculture products as well as manufacturing and to increase job opportunities for locals by not only increasing local trade but also external trade with foreign countries.

Sittway Port
Sittway port is constructed with investment from India and was completed in 2017. Once the port is in operation 3,500-4,000 tons can be transported between Sittway and Paletwa while up to 20,000 tons can be transported from Sittway to Kolkata.

India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway
Building of a road from India’s Mizoram State to Paletwa will greatly support the development and trade in Rakhine State and Chin Sate. Rakhine State will have a rapidly increasing foreign investment and trade when Kaladan multi-modal project is combined with the trilateral highway linking Moreh in India to Measot in Thailand via Mandalay and Yangon.

Ponnagyun industrial zone
Ponnagyun is the nearest town to Sittway and 40 minutes on an all-weather-road is all it takes to travel. Process of setting up an industrial zone in Ponnagyun is underway. Ponnagyun industrial zone is on 1,833.15 acres of land situated right beside the Yangon-Sittway road.
Variety of businesses
A variety of businesses, factories and workshops will be in the Ponnagyun industrial zone. In addition to textile plants, garment factories, electrical parts factories, consumer good factories, foreign and local investors are showing interest to invest more. Due to close proximity to road, rails and the Kaladan River, land and water transport is very convenient and Ponnagyun industrial zone will develop rapidly.

Job opportunities
Once construction is completed, job opportunities for local youth will be created and unemployment reduced. The industrial zone will also develop MraukU Township and Kyauktaw Township adjacent to Ponnagyun.

Prawn and crab breeding
Prawn and crab breeding is conducted with foreign investment near Ponnagyun beside the Ponnagyun-Sittway road. Prawn and crab breeding is a successful business in Rakhine State and many local and foreign investors had invested in it. The products were exported abroad as well as being locally distributed.
Crab breeding with foreign investment in Kyaukphyu is providing jobs for local youth.

Salt water Tiger Prawn
Currently there are a total of 9,635 person conducting fish and prawn breeding on 156,538.64 acres of land in Rakhine State. Majority is prawn breeding and Tiger Prawn is mostly bred. Myanmar Sustainable Aquaculture Program (MYSAP) is implemented in cooperation with European Union and German state-owned organization GIZ and from 2016 to 2022 financial support and technical cooperation will be provided.

Agriculture and livestock zones
There are plans for an agriculture and livestock zones in Kyauktaw Township. Kisapanadi River flows through Kyauktaw Township where the weather is fine. Geographically, it is a flat plain area that had many good lands suitable for agriculture.
Local and foreign investors are interested in an agriculture zone with a huge land area and a livestock zones from which meat, fish, milk, and eggs can be produced.

If the agriculture and livestock zones could be implemented, it will provide job opportunities for local rural youths as well as support regional development. Ground survey for Kyauktaw agriculture and livestock zone was conducted. Efforts are made toward implementation and once this is successfully done, economical agriculture and livestock businesses will flourish and raise the economy of Rakhine State from that sector.

Agriculture Science (Kyauktaw)
Once the Agriculture Science (Kyauktaw) school is completed, graduating youths will be able to utilize their knowledge effectively toward the development of the region as well as the entire State.

Kyaukpyu Special Economic Zone and Deep Sea Port Project
Kyaukpyu Special Economic Zone and Kyaukpyu Deep Sea Port projects are underway in Kyaukpyu Township, Rakhine State. Kyaukpyu Special Economic Zone is implemented in the vicinity of Thaing Chaung road junction in Kyaukphyu Township.
Ground works are being started and because of the special economic zone, there’ll be increase in investment and trade in Rakhine State resulting in a rapid development of the economy.
Kyaukpyu Special Economic Zone Management Committee and CITIC Group, the tender winner to implement the Kyaukpyu Special Economic Zone, were holding discussions for project implementation and project works will start soon.

200,000 jobs in Kyaukpyu Special Economic Zone
Once the works on Kyaukpyu Special Economic Zone are implemented, about 200,000 jobs for locals will become available. As it will develop Rakhine State’s trade and investment, efforts are made to implement it speedily.

100,000 jobs in Kyaukphyu Deep Sea Port
Construction of a deep sea port in Made Island, Kyaukpyu Township will start this year with foreign investment. Once the project is completed, it will be the driving force to develop the trade and economy of the entire Rakhine State and would provide job for about 100,000 local youth.
Kyaukpyu Special Economic Zone and Kyaukpyu Deep Sea port projects are important for Rakhine State development and the government is pushing hard for speedy implementation.
During the first year of the incumbent government, discussions were held with tender winning company in order to start the Kyaukpyu Special Economic Zone and Kyaukpyu Deep Sea port projects

Internal and external trade
In conducting internal and external trade, Rakhine State is linked with the entire country by road in order for the unhindered flow of commodities day or night. External trade is with Bangladesh and is cooperating to increase and improve trade between the two countries.
In order to balance trade, attempts are made to increase the export products of Rakhine State such as agriculture produce, foodstuff, fresh and dried fish.

More than US$ 3 million worth of aquatic products exported through Maungtaw.
During the fiscal year 2016-2017, the most exported products through Maungtaw trade station are varieties of dried fish, sea water prawn and fresh fish totaling 3,539.18 tons that is worth US$ 3.946 million.

Sittway trade station
At the Sittway trade station 2,101.5 tons or US$ 2.278 million worth of dried and fresh fish were exported.
Combined with Maungtaw trade station, a total of 5,640.68 ton or US$ 6.224 million was exported.

Mingan Port
Trade between Bangladesh and Sittway is conducted through Mingan Port in Satykyao creek.
With place to store goods and convenient berthing spots for vessels, Sittway trade station Mingan port is very convenient for commerce.

Maungtaw trade station
Millet was exported to Bangladesh from Maungtaw trade station. Cement, clothing, hand pumps and plastic goods are imported from Bangladesh.
Up to 13 March in the fiscal year 2016-2017, US$ 4.352 million worth of trade was conducted through Sittway trade station and exceeded the monthly planned average trade amount by 54.396%.
Up to 13 March in the fiscal year 2016-2017, trade through Maungtaw trade station exceeded the monthly planned trade amount by 66.542%.
Trade in fiscal year 2016-2017 exceeded by 0.271% the trade in fiscal year 2015-2016.

Thazin Myay Trade Centre
Thazin Myay Trade Centre was established in Sittway on 8 August 2016 to support economic development in Rakhine State, connect local businesses with foreign businesses and share news and data.

Enquiries can be made on economic and trade news and data
Thazin Myay Trade Centre responds to queries on economic and trade news and data, arrange discussion for business and trade, educate on economics, and arrange business meetings and discussions.
Establishment of Thazin Myay Trade Centre results in more meetings between Rakhine, local and foreign businesses that in turn become a driving force for trade and investment.
In fact, some of the businesses who were in earlier meetings are already starting their works in Rakhine State.

Interest to invest in hotel, energy and mineral resources
Foreign businesses and companies are interested to invest in hotel, energy and mineral sector of Rakhine State and are already conducting discussions.

Kanyinchaung Trade Zone
Kanyinchaung Trade Zone is constructed as economic and trade zones are important for the success of trade and investment. The incumbent government pushed for the construction of Kanyinchaung Trade Zone in Maungtaw district.

Construction of a modern marketplace
For regional development, Kanyinchaung Trade Zone and a modern marketplace were constructed in Kanyinchaung, Maungtaw district. In the trade zone there are cold storage, warehouse, fuel station, motel, restaurants and some were already constructed.

Two concrete jetties
Construction of two concrete jetties in Kanyinchaung Trade Zone was completed at the cost of Kyat 16.44 million. A 420 ft. long earth approach road is at the final stage of completion. A store and a sale rooms were already constructed in Kanyinchaung Trade Zone. Once the Kanyinchaung Trade Zone is completed, commerce, trade and development works will succeed rapidly in Maungtaw District.

Border trade
Border trade with Bangladesh is conducted mainly through Sittway and Maungtaw trade stations. In order to increase and ease trade, Myanmar-Bangladesh Joint Commission on Trade was formed and meetings were held regularly.
Construction of Kanyinchaung Trade Zone and a modern marketplace will also support the increase in trade.

Sharing of trade data
Bangladesh is interested to import the natural gas, oil, mineral, marine and agriculture products of Rakhine State. Discussions were held to issue certificates/documents to ease loading and discharging goods at Bangladesh ports. Process is underway to exchange trade data regularly in order to balance the trade between the two countries.

Offshore gas field
Rakhine State is a coastal region and in the Myanmar territorial water off Rakhine State, there are a number of gas fields. In addition to these offshore gas fields, offshore oil exploration blocks also existed. Oil and gas resources are nature’s gift to Rakhine State.

Investment by foreign companies
Foreign companies are investing and producing oil and gas and the incumbent government is inviting more foreign investment as well as assisting the work of the companies already in Rakhine State.

Marble extraction and processing
Foreign investment conducted under the permission of the Myanmar Investment Commission in Rakhine Sate is in the mining sector. Myanmar Simco Song Da Joint Stock Co., Ltd. is investing US$ 18.147 million in a marble extraction and processing project in Nayputaung quarry, Taungup Township, Rakhine State.

Exploration and production
In the Rakhine State energy sector Statoil Myanmar Private Limited and Conoco Phillips Myanmar E&P Pte. Ltd. is investing US$ 323.65 million under the Foreign Investment Law to conduct oil and gas exploration and production.
Woodside Energy (Myanmar) Pte. Ltd., and BG Exploration & Production Myanmar Pte. Ltd. is also investing US$ 290.1 million for gas exploration and production in Rakhine offshore.

Total investment of more than US$ 10 billion
During the Fiscal Year 2016-2017, 27 projects in energy sector, one project in mining sector and one service sector project invested a total of US$ 10.259483 billion in Rakhine State.

Hotel sector
From 1 April 2016 to end March 2017, 5 hotels and guesthouses with 193 rooms were granted permission to invest and there are now a total of 49 hotels and guesthouses with 1,540 rooms.
The newly permitted hotel and guesthouses are 2 guesthouses in Sittway with 30 rooms, a hotel and 3 guesthouses in Kyaukphyu with 93 rooms.
Development in travel sector
As travel sector develop in Rakhine State, existing hotels and guesthouses are given permission to extend and added 16 rooms in Sittway and 53 rooms in Ngapali.

Ngapali beach
From 1 April 2016 to end March 2017, permissions were granted to build a 12 room hotel and a high-end guest house in Ngapali beach.
Ngapali beach is world-famous beach where local and foreign companies had interest to invest in hotels.

Alethankyaw beach and Kyaukpandu beach
Hotel business owners are interested to develop and invest in Alethankyaw beach and Kyaukpandu beach.
As travel business develop in one of the ancient cultural heritage site MraukU, a workshop was held with local and foreign entities to develop the hotel sector and was able to attract foreign investment.
Foreign companies are showing keen interest in constructing new hotels and MraukU Township.

Finland and Sweden companies
Ha Nam CMC Co., Ltd of Finland is planning a hotel service and Ziba Hotels and Resorts Co., Ltd of Sweden is investing to build a hotel. Another Swedish company D n A Hotels and Resorts Co., Ltd. is planning on investing in hotel business. To achieve growth in the travel business through creating new tour sites, site surveys were conducted to Rathedaung and Pauktaw Townships in northern Rakhine State and Gwa and Manaung Townships in southern Rakhine State during the 1 April 2016 to end March 2017one year period. Drawing up plans for local and foreign investment in the travel business will result in increasing investment in the travel sector.

Investment sectors
Now, foreign and local companies are making 10 investments in the hotel sector, 5 investments in the livestock breeding and marine sector, 2 investments in the construction sector, one in the production sector, one in other sector totaling 19 investments amounting to Kyat 111.3116 billion. During the first year of the incumbent government, up to February of fiscal year 2016-2017, 3 foreign companies and 136 Myanmar companies registered and started work.

Local companies
126 local companies invested during the fiscal year 2015-2016. In fiscal year 2016-2017 136 local companies invested bringing up the total by 10. Once all the different businesses develop, not only the socio-economic condition of the people of Rakhine State improves, it will also support the economic development of the whole country.

Source: GLobal New Light of Myanmar

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