“In terms of investments, there are 14 foreign investment companies, 26 local investment companies totaling up till 78 million dollars and 498,935 million Kyats with 10,788 jobs created.”
- U Hla Moe Aung, Ayeyawady Region Chief Minister
Ayeyawady Regional Government has accomplished many during their third year in the government-agricultural and industrial developments, increased access to electricity, improving public transportation and the boom of tourism. There were milestones accomplished as well as challenges overcome (or still in the process of overcoming) in the previous year. We met up with U Hla Moe Aung, Chief Minister of Ayeyawady Regional Government to discuss about the past accomplishments and future plans for the region.
Q: What are some investment programs in the region right now?
A: In terms of investments, there are 14 foreign investment companies, 26 local investment companies totaling up till US $78 million and Kyats 498,935 million with 10,788 jobs created. There are also plans to build a port along with a port city as well as a beach in Nga Yoke Kaung Town as well as another port in Shwe Thaung Yan. Another objective is to be able to create a coastal road from Nga Pu Taw town up to Gwa, Rakhine. The regional government is currently seeking investors for such projects.
Q: There have been talk regarding creating more industrial zones in the Ayeyawady Region. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
A: There is currently an industrial zone project with plans for up to 50 factories being built within the two years. It is expected to create about 1 million opportunities after the project is completed in 2020. Businesses in the Maubin industrial zones just got their permits as well and is expected to start soon. For Nyaungdon industrial area, the investors are applying for permits according to existing rules and procedures.
Q: What are the main agricultural developments in the region?
A: The Ayeyawady region is known for Rice bowl of Myanmar. There are 3.7 million acres of rice paddies for export in the rainy season and 1.4 million acres in the summer. These were able to produce 226 million baskets of rice in the 2018-2019 year.
One challenge we had was a case of Fall Army Worms on over 40,000 acres of corn farms. With the combined efforts of the union government and the regional government, we were able to provide pesticides and fertilizers.
Q: Can you tell us about the efforts in redistributing confiscated land to the farmers?
A: Out of the 100,462 acres that were confiscated, we were able to return 100,334 acres back to the farmers. The rest are in process to be redistributed as well. During the Peasant Day celebrations on 2 March 2019, our Vice President Henry Van Thio handed 6603 acres to 1102 farmers whose land was confiscated. We also invited up to 3000 farmers last year for a tradeshow up to 55 merchants showcasing the latest development in agricultural tech.
Q: What about efforts regarding drainage and water management as well livestock farming?
A: We managed to build irrigation systems to save up 893,000 acres from floods last year by building trenches and dam in nearby regions with over Kyats 990 million from the Union Budget. There were over 187,286 acres of fishery/prawn farms for around 187,286 acres in the 2018-2019 fiscal year. We are also helping farmers and livestock owners with taking care of their animals such as vaccinations and feed. There were also animal safe land and shelter built to help ease the burden on the farmers.
Q: What about transportation within the region?
A: During the third year of the incumbent government, there were up till 298 miles of new roads, as well as over 1986 feet of concrete bridges constructed. The 2723 feet Steel Truss Deck Type bridge in Myaungmya was also opened for transport vehicles this April 2019. The 2380 feet Pathein Bridge is also currently in construction with plans to open it by August 2020.
Q: What about access to electricity?
A: We added 26 townships, 3 towns and 768 villages to the grid along with solar power systems installed in 1491 villages. Substations are also being built in Kyite Latt, Nga Yoke Kaung and Ngwesaung as well. In Shwe Thaung Yan, the LNG to Power Plant is starting to take shape and is set to be the biggest power plant in Myanmar when completed, providing up to 1390 MWs. Hopefully, not only will this plant be able to supply the whole region with electricity, the excess may be able to supply the national grid as well.
Q: Can you tell us about the public communication efforts?
A: There is an additional 763 mobile shelters within the past three years from 2016-2019 in 6 areas. Children Book Fairs were held annually at different cities as well to encourage kids to pick up reading as a habit, expanding their knowledge. The City Development Committee was also able to buy 33 vehicles, 57 machines costing Kyats 2378 million in efforts to renovate and expand city development efforts.
Q: What were some ways to increase tourism in the area?
A: There were 86 licenses for hotels and motels with more than 3000 rooms approved within the past three years. There was a 48 percent increase in the number of tourists coming in the country as well. The Yangon-Pathein route for flights recently opened December 2018 to help accommodate travelers who prefer to take a flight. There are four bus routes per week bringing tourists to the Ngwe Saung, Chaung Tha area.
Q: Lastly, can you explain to us on efforts regarding disaster preparedness as well as health and education developments?
A: We were able to support up to 80,000 households providing up to Kyats 2,400 million as support in the past three years. We also rebuilt 800 houses in 3 townships for disaster preparation as well as help 2700 houses stock up on emergency equipment/food. There were also 62 Cyclone Shelters, Multipurpose shelters and School Shelters built with 48 renovated.
For education, there were a total of 13345 additional schools built with 1478 renovated and upgraded. There were over 3000 new teachers hired to fill in the gaps of the teaching forces as well as 76 new testing stations for the matriculation exam. In the health field, hospitals in the area got new equipment such as the CT Scan in addition to the new departments (such as the cancer and new emergency response departments). There are district health workers that are formed into pods that manages donation funds to distribute food, medicine and health supplements for breastfeeding mothers. Lastly, we are working towards giving 100% free treatment for tuberculosis, rabies patients and children of under five years of age.
The Ayeyawady Regional Government is working its hardest towards giving the public the best living standards as possible for their well being. —(Translated by Myat Thu)