Viable CMEC projects to be included in Myamar Project Bank

Depending on their commercial viability, projects from the China Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC) will be selected and included in Myanmar Project Bank, Deputy Minister of Planning, Finance and Industry U Set Aung said on June 24. The two governments have signed a co-operation plan for the CMEC, under which Myanmar has the authority to choose the projects it wants to execute.

“We will choose the projects only after feasibility studies have been done and if they are commercially viability and have strategic significance to Myanmar,” he said.

The Myanmar Project Bank is an open web-based platform designed to highlight investment projects which will further the implementation of the Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan 2018-2030. This establishes a predictable and transparent system linking major investment projects with appropriate sources of finance.

The project bank also aims to facilitate the identification, screening, appraisal and prioritisation of major investment projects in achieving national development objectives, based on social, environmental, economic and risk indicators.

Tenders will be invited using the Swiss Challenge method after the CMEC projects have been selected and included in the project bank. The main projects under CMEC are the Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone in Rakhine, the Muse-Mandalay-Kyaukphyu express railroad and three border trade zone projects.

Trade zone projects

Of the three China-Myanmar Border Economic Cooperation Zones, Shweli-Muse Core Zone will be implemented first, said Deputy Minister of Commerce U Aung Htoo.

As part of the CMEC, Myanmar is expecting to develop core zones in three locations – Muse, Chin Shwe Haw and Kan Pite Tee. “Firstly, we will establish border economic cooperation zones in Shweli, China and Muse, Myanmar. A framework agreement will be signed between Myanmar and China,” he said.

In the framework agreement, the two governments will determine the zone location and area for the Shweli-Muse Core Zone. Other factors such as financing and manpower will feature as major points of the agreement, said U Min Min, Director General from the Department of Trade.

Shweli-Muse Core Zone is envisioned to be a triangle-shaped area, stretching from Nam Phat Kar to northern Namkham and up to Kyukote (Pangsang) in the south.

A meeting will take place next week to seek recommendations from the Land Record Department and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to determine the longitude and latitude of the area.

“We need to conduct ground and feasibility studies so that we can develop manufacturing, tourism and livestock and fisheries areas in the zone and so we need to negotiate further with China,” said U Min Min, adding that the other two core zones will be developed based on the outcome at Shweli-Muse.

Kyaukphyu delayed

Meanwhile, development of the Kyaukphyu deep-sea port project signed by Myanmar and China on November 8, 2018 has been delayed due to COVID-19, said U Set Aung.

“We had to postpone international tenders for the Environmental and Social Impact Assessments (EIA/SIA)due to COVID-19,” he told The Myanmar Times.

According to the agreement, the EIA/SIA was to be completed within a year but the process will not be able to commence until after COVID-19, he said. The US$1.3 billion deep sea port project is the first phase of development under Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone.

As Myanmar will invest 30pc in the deep-sea port, a detailed feasibility study will take place after EIA/SIA is completed. The project can begin only after the assessments are completed.

Meanwhile, the Muse-Mandalay express railroad project is expected to cost around $8.9 billion to build, said an officer from Myanmar Rail Transportation Department.

The project will be implemented with funds from organisations like the World Bank or Asia Development Bank. “We agreed in the Co-operation Plan that the projects will be implemented with the best and most cost-efficient sources of financing for Myanmar,” U Set Aung said.

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Source : Myanmar Times

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