Yangon’s New City development project initiates ‘Swiss challenge’

The Yangon government has launched a “Swiss challenge” tender for Yangon New City’s first-stage infrastructure projects, following Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Myanmar.

Yangon Mayor U Maung Maung Soe and Song Hailiang, president of state-owned China Communications Construction Co (CCCC) signed a Letter of Intent for the New Urban Development of Yangon City on January 18, during the Chinese leader’s visit.

The YCDC has submitted the Pre-Project Documents for six Stage 1 infrastructure workstreams for approval to the Union Government level. After an approval is received, YCDC will launch the Swiss challenge tender, said NYDC CEO Serge Pun in an announcement.

Under a Swiss challenge tender, a public authority that has received an unsolicited bid for a public project publishes the bid and invites third parties to match or better it. The entity that submitted the bid itself is also allowed to match or better the best bid which comes out of the Swiss challenge process

He added that the process will be carried out in a transparent and fair way in accordance with the law.

The first phase will include the construction of five village townships, two bridges, 26km of artery roads, 10 square kilometres of industrial estate, power plant, transmission and distribution facilities as well as fresh water supply and wastewater treatment plants.

Launched by the regional government in March 2018, the Yangon New City project covers an area twice the size of Singapore.

NYDC signed an agreement with CCCC to prepare detailed pre-project documents infrastructure and a 10-square-kilometre industrial estate. The company was widely criticised for inking the deal without calling a tender.

NYDC explained that this was to “avoid wasting time” and it would carry out the Swiss challenge. Once the proposal is finalised, NYDC will disclose the documents to the public and call a tender. If a company is able to challenge CCCC with a lower bid to build the infrastructure, it will be selected instead but will need to pay CCCC for the costs incurred.

The new Yangon city project will be helping China to expand its commercial and economic influence deep into Myanmar’s heartland, analysts say.

Mega projects from China could result in heavy debt burdens for the Myanmar government and also undermine Myanmar’s economic sovereignty, they said.

Source: Myanmar Times

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