State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi yesterday identified the transportation and electricity sectors as the most important infrastructural challenges in the country that need to be improved in order to improve the lives of the people and attract foreign investment.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi made the remarks at the co-ordination meeting on national energy policy held at 2 pm at the Myanmar International Convention Center-2 in Nay Pyi Taw.
“In the transport sector, there were places that could not be accessible in some seasons. In some places there was no electricity available. If the problems of electricity and roads in these places are solved on a self-help basis, economic advantages can be implemented. Only if transport and electricity is better will foreign investors be interested in investing in the country”, she said.
Only approximately 35 per cent of the country has access to electricity, according to the energy ministry. Of the 35 per cent who have access to electricity, there are frequent outages. Those who have access to electricity pay much less than the actual cost for their use. Meanwhile, people from unconnected areas have to pay the same taxes as those who are already connected, according to the energy ministry. There is one expressway in the country, the 587 km Yangon-Mandalay Expressway, which runs from Yangon to Mandalay, bypassing Bago, Taungoo, Nay Pyi Taw and Meiktila. The state counsellor said yesterday that improved transport and electricity creates jobs and improves lives.
“The government will help the public to have the acquisition of better transport and electricity, and the parallel creation of jobs”, she said. “We came to know that people acknowledged that the transportation sector developed much more than the electricity sector. In meeting with rural youths, I noticed them say that their living standards improved because of better transport.”
U Pe Zin Tun, the Union Minister for Electric Power and Energy, explained in brief about the amendment of the National Energy Policy, followed by the clarification of departmental conclusions toward the national energy policy by the director-general of the Oil and Gas Planning Department.
Afterward, Union Ministers from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Conservation and the Ministry of Industry, Union Attorney General, ministers for energy from regional and state cabinets gave suggestions over the draft policy of national energy, with discussions made by those present at the meeting. The State Counsellor wrapped up the meeting by saying that the expectations of a national energy policy were targeted to support the national economic development and to sustainably supply the internal energy demand. With a view for all the public to use energy resources in the long run, it is learnt that a framework for sharing the use energy rightly and fairly between regions and states will be laid down.—Myanmar News Agency