BOT: A good system to be practised

At the Pyithu Hluttaw meeting held on 30 July, U Kyaw Swe Win of Kawhmu constituency said the BOT (Build, Operate, Transfer) system increases public sector development and frees the government from using state funds in constructing economically strategic roads and is thus a good economic system.
He tabled a motion urging the government to control and manage BOT agreements all over the country for constructing roads under a PPP (Private-Public Partnership) system.
In his explanation for tabling the motion, U Kyaw Swe Win said that since 1996, economically strategic roads were constructed under a BOT system with private companies and more than 90 per cent of the main artery roads that are strategically important were constructed and operated by private companies. By using the BOT System, the public could use completed and adequate roads all over the country without waiting for government budget allocation. Those investing in the roads will also see timely benefits on their investment and the government will see an increase in revenue, as well as improve the flow of goods and other benefits.
But the socio-economic development of the people and development of the country’s economy can only be achieved if the companies that undertake the BOT agreement implement the work completely and totally, according to the agreement.
Upon studying the BOT systems implemented, only a few companies follow the agreement totally and wholly, while most do not fulfill it and put their own benefits and profits at the forefront. Most of the roads were not improved resulting in the road users paying a toll for using old roads.
Companies constructing roads under the BOT system need to build a new road and make an investment first. Only after the road is constructed, repaired or improved as per the agreement and the government accepts it, should the company “operate” the road and collect toll. But most just make minor repairs and collect the total amount of toll.
According to the agreement, a road that sees more than 500 vehicles a day is to be 24 ft. wide and a road with traffic of more than 2,000 vehicles per day is to be 48 ft. wide and a new road is to be built. The Yangon-Pathein road sees daily traffic of more than 6,000 vehicles but the relevant company that signed the BOT agreement is using the same old road while collecting a full toll.
The result is a narrow road incapable of handling the increasing traffic, causing delays and accidents.
However, criticising and blaming each other for weaknesses, omissions, and inadequacies in taking action against such companies will not make the roads better, added U Kyaw Swe Win.
The motion was tabled so that lessons could be learnt from the past for the benefit of the country and the people, and what is needed can be done to control and manage the situation, and action can be taken to resolve the situation, said U Kyaw Swe Win in his explanation on submitting the motion.—Aye Aye Thant (Myanmar News Agency)

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