By Shin Min
Photo: Kay Kay of Region Government
Meet the people, so we can resolve the difficulties of the people: Sagaing Region Government
In full force, the Sagaing Region Government is implementing policy in three pronged strategies such as that of concentrating on agriculture and animal breeding for socio-economic development of the region; that of working for better communication in conjunction with the adequate supply of electricity; and that of expanding tourism industry in the region, for the overall socio-economic development of the people.
An interview was called on Sagaing Region Chief Minister Dr Myint Naing, and the performances of the region government are submitted to the esteemed readers and the people.
Q: Kindly share us with the development tasks being carried out for the people.
A: In the past four years, the Sagaing Region Government worked on the policy with three strategies, and that the positive results are achieved. The drawbacks are rectified and remedied through consultation with the Regional Government, the Hluttaw members, and the people.
Q: Please tell us the prioritized everyday jobs during the fourth- year period.
A: During the fourth-year period, we continued the three guiding policy such as that of the agriculture and the animal breeding sectors being given priority for more development; that of the communication and electricity supply; and that of the development of tourism industry. In accordance with the first guiding policy, the Sagaing Region Government has explored (952) acres of cultivable waste land and (1,230) acres of superior farm land.
In transforming from manual cultivation to mechanized farming, the activities are being carried out such as that of selling (1,955) tractors; that of repairing (43) small dams, lakes, reservoirs; and that of (363) rural small dams and lakes. The facilities could provide water for (780,000) acres of monsoon paddy and summer paddy, and (890,000) acres of for other crops. Three river water pumping stations were constructed and distributed water for (1,400) acres.
Moreover, quality seeds for paddy and other crops have been produced and distributed to the farmers. Certificates on “Good Agriculture Practise (GAP)” have been issued to cultivators of mango, sweet cucumber and winter sesame with the aim and objective for safe fruits production and market penetration.
With the assistance of JICA, the “Agriculture Income Improvement Project” is under construction on (6) years project to distribute water through “Tha Hpan Seik Dam”. The project intends to supply water to (500,000) acres and also create job opportunities.
In saving water, the “Water Saving Agriculture Technology (WSAT)” is ongoing in (10) townships in the dry zone areas. Moreover, the drip irrigation system and the sprinkling water system are used for vegetables and flowers on (71) acres.
Laboratories have been constructed for the testing seed, the pest control, and the soil test. Vaccines for foot-and-mouth disease for cattle have been administered to (160,000) livestock free of charge.
In the Sagaing Region, there are (351) fishery ponds and sites allowed with grant system; (153) fish catching sites; (7,544) fish farming lakes; and that MMK (1,689) millions is realized as fish revenue, MMK (800) million more than previous year.
There are (317) beekeepers, also called honey farmers, in the Sagaing Region, who produced (5 point 84) millions pounds.
In accordance with the second strategic policy, MMK (115) billion was spent in construction of the asphalt / concrete road; the concrete road; the asphalt road; the solid road; and other type of road; (11) bridges with over (180) feet in width; (923) bridges with less than (180) feet width.
Moreover, the road “Thet Kai Kyinn – Phaungpyin – Homalin – Khamti”, have been renovated, and that Homalin and Khamti could be travelled the whole year round.
As the “Khamti Bridge” over the Chindwin River has been constructed, the travel from Khamti to Lahe Town of Naga Areas could be travelled within three and half hours, it helps development of Naga Areas. “Homalin Bridge” crossing over Chindwin River was completed in the year, and therefore, the border trade exit town “Tamu” could be reached in comfort via “Homalin –Kat Tha – Aung Zeya – Tamu”.
Bridges on that road are on the agenda for upgrading. When completed, the Sagaing Region could be connected to India border easily. “Sagaing – Shwebo –Ye U – Kaleywa – Tamu Road” is part of the “Greater Mekong Sub-region Economic Corridor”. Moreover, “Muse – Mandalay – Shwebo –Ye U – Kaleywa – Tamu Road” is part of “Northern Corridor”. As these road areas are crucial and important for the socio-economic development, necessary funds are being requested from the Union Government.
After building “Chindwin Bridge”, (93) miles stretch of “Kalaywa – Tamu Road” is upgraded with the assistant of Indian side with (18) feet wide asphalt / concrete road.
Total of (69) Bailey bridges would be transformed into RC bridges with the help of Indian side.
“Tamu – Kaleywa – Yar Gyi – Chaung Ma – Linka Jungle Road” is linking “India – Myanmar – Thailand Trilateral Highway”. The road is being upgraded with the assistence of India side, and that would be completed in 2020 – 2021. Staff housing of (20) buildings with (280) apartments for officers and government employees have been completed at the cost of MMK (6) billion.
For the pensioners and the people with no owned homes, total of (12) buildings with (552) apartments have been constructed in (5) townships. More housing projects are on the agenda.
In 2018 – 2019, MMK (634) million from Union Budget was spent for electricity supply projects. Moreover, the repair and replacement of electricity supply cables and post have been made by spending MMK (74) million.
“Namt Pa Nga Hydropower Project” in Homalin Township is under construction. In the meanwhile, at the request of the local people residing near the project at the western part of Chindwin River, (400) volts power supply lines have been established for (12) villages.
MMK (13) billion of Sagaing Region Government Fund was spent in power supply and extension projects including the construction of power sub-station.
Another MMK (6) billion was spent in replacing power lines and posts. As of now, all the (50) towns in Sagaing Region is enjoying the electricity. Total of (5,302) villages out of (5,991) villages have been supplied with electricity, covering (88) per cent of the region.
Over (35,000) SMEs are being registered, and the remaining enterprises are urged to register. The people from MSMEs (Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises) have been provided with necessary training courses. For market expansion, local and foreign exhibitions were held and that the commercial advertisements were uploaded on the ASEAN SME Web Portal and also on MSMEs Myanmar Web Portal.
Regarding the third strategic policy of tourism development, the “Za Lone Taung Pagoda” pilgrimage areas have been equipped with pleasant resorts and convenient bus terminal, which created market for local foodstuffs.
In December 2018, “One Week Long Travel Promotion” was launched in the area.
In January 2019, the Myanmar Heritage Trail Tourism Rally (MHTTR) was successfully held and that the MRTV 4 covered the event.
Sagaing Region Travel Promotion Committee and the “Manjushaka International Cultural Organization of Japan” presented “Japan – Myanmar Friendship Show” in February 2019 in Sagaing and Monywa. In the private sector, the (36) hotels with (1,350) rooms have been expanded with (46) hotels with (1,710) rooms.
Due to the successful establishment of clean and user-friendly toilet at tourists attraction areas of Mingun and other tourist destinations; the Mingun area of Sagaing Region was awarded with “ASEAN Public Toilet Standard Awards 2019-2021” at ATF-2019 forum held in Halong City of Vietnam.
Total of (109) business people have been issued with necessary “SMEs certificates”. It is to help assist in getting investment loans from the banks. Total of (32) business persons have received MMK (851) millions from SME loan; CGI loans; JICA Two-Step-Loans.
Moreover, (73) business persons have been awarded with MMK (2,360) millions from the “Responsible Business Fund (RBF)” from Denmark. In (25) Myanmar national investment projects, MMK (46,275) million [including US$ (10) million]; and that another one foreign investment amounting US$ (28) millions have been set up.
In the past, the investments are mainly in the sectors such as that of mineral extraction; the oil and gas drilling; and the timber trade. As of now, many expanded sectors on national interest have been taken up for investment.
Nowadays, more investors are taking interest in various industry and sectors of businesses in the Sagaing Region. The entrepreneurs have come up in line with the market requirement based on the local resources such as agriculture, animal breeding, and local production, creating job opportunities.
Most interestingly, the pattern of investment has been shifted into responsible investment.
The participation at the “Investment Myanmar Summit” and the “Myanmar Investment Forum” held in 2019 in Nay Pyi Taw have opened up the news investment landscape such as that of the Sagaing Jetty Project and Urban Development Project; that of the coal fuel powered Electricity Generating Project in Kaleywa; and that of Cement Factory in Kalay.
The stakeholders’ meeting was held for convening “Sagaing Region Investment Fair 2020” with a view to create more investment.
The investors in Sagaing, Monywa and Shwebo are being accorded with (5) years tax exemption; and that the investors in other (34) townships would be accorded with (7) years tax exemption.
Moreover, the imported machinery for the investment will be exempted from tax. Therefore, local and foreign investors are cordially invited to invest in Sagaing Region. Difficulty in connection with the investment, including the land plot matters, would be facilitated with necessary help and assistance.
In collaboration with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MONREC), the Sagaing Region Government is allowing work permits for the basic small scale miners in the gem and jade exploration in the “Khamti Jewel Land” for the rule of law and also creation of job opportunities.
In two exploration sites of “Khamti Jewel Land” small exploration plots are being given out through the bidding of tender system for (5) times. Those who submitted cash as tender biddings have been issued with the working permits for exploration.
In the past, the MONREC had issued permits on (20) acres of lands for small scale gold production in the areas, where the Sagaing Region Government provided recommendations and remarks.
When the 2018 Myanma Mines Rules was issued under Notification, the Sagaing Region Government is shouldering the task in handing out work permits for gold exploration to the small scale miners in accordance with the Mining Rules. In this connection one company is permitted (4) plots of mining sites covering (4) acres each. Each basic small scale miner / worker is permitted with one plot covering (1) acre of plot in accordance with the rules. In accordance with the allocation of the MONREC the Sagaing Region Government is granting small patch of gold exploration sites in (8) townships.
As revenue, MMK (3,001) million have been realized for the country in 2018 – 2019 fiscal years, and that MMK (3,046) millions are expected for 2019 – 2020 fiscal years.
Q: Please share us the most satisfactory achievement so far.
A: In the implementation of our strategic policy, the Sagaing Region Government is very much satisfied with the cooperation extended by other ministries, and the participation of Hluttaw Representatives, which resulted with the success of the urban development activities.
In water supply projects for the urban areas, total of (79) projects have been realized. Moreover, city development jobs are doing fine with the related machinery and vehicles.
Road construction on self-reliance basis between the Sagaing Region Government and the public is also satisfactory. Sagaing Regional Government provided materials while the people contributed labor.
In (8) townships, the news Town Halls are being constructed, and that the Town Halls in (5) townships have been upgraded. The new bus terminals are constructed and the existing terminals are being upgraded.
The double arms street lamp posts are being erected in (4) towns. Beautification of towns is also ongoing. The land leveling jobs are carried out with the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of the Sagaing Regional Government in collaboration with the business people and the companies. In Shwebo, hotel, shopping mall and (30) separate housing are on the agenda with the joint cooperation on contract with “Global Biz Link Co., Ltd”.
Q: Since the Sagaing Region is the largest region in the country, please tell us the methods being carried for the balanced development of all sectors.
A: Sagaing Region is vast in areas, but the infrastructure is inadequate, and as a result, the invitation of investment experienced with some limitation, and that the border trade is also facing some inadequacy.
Therefore, the Sagaing Region Government is giving relaxations and concessions in inviting investment as much as possible. On the other hand, the SRG is laying out better strategic policy for communication. The tourist industry and the SMEs are expecting investment with the aim to uplift the socio-economic condition if the region to the best of our ability.
Q: Please tell us the tasks being done by the Sagaing Region Government after beig heard suggestion and desire of the people.
A: In accordance with the instruction and directives of the State Counsellor such as that “ Meet the people and resolve the difficulty of the people”, the persons for the Sagaing Region Government routinely made field trips to the grass root levels in various townships and convened public meetings.
At such meeting, the submissions of the people are being fulfilled immediately on sight, and that the cases that required for scrutiny are being replied to the people with guarantee signed in written form by the ministers of the Sagaing Region Government, and handed over to the people.
The SRG always listened to the voice of the people and also replied to the people with deep regards. If the matters could be redressed immediately, we fulfilled the matters instantly. If the issue needs time, we replied decently in writing.
Q: Please tell us on the cooperation of the public.
A: In our Sagaing Region, the people are quite candid and honest. They would never hesitate to speak out over the fault and wrong doing. They would support the right things.
Q: Please explain the plans for this year.
A: Three strategic policies would be continued by our SRG for the development of the region. We have planned to construct an “Information Center” at the entry point of Sagaing. It is intended for the investors to have access on data and information of Sagaing Region through “Online and Website”. To be short, web-based tools are those which are fully dependant on web technologies, like HTTP, IP, etc. On the other hand, online tools are those other transfer protocols like VoIP, FTP, etc. plus web technologies. The SRG intends to develop the MSMEs; to raise human resources development; and to invite local and foreign investments.
Q: Please add messages to the public.
A: As we have been elected by the people, we are doing our best without deceit, dishonesty and deception. During four years time, the bad communication has been transformed into better communication.
In the past, we depended on the exploration of natural resources and timber extraction, and now, we are working on sustainable development. We are offering concessions as much as possible over the investment.
On the whole, we could offer such relaxation because of the support the people; the cooperation of the Hluttaw Representatives and the civil society organizations; the participation of the government employees in accord with the rules and regulations; and the trust of the investors. Translated by UMT (Ahlon)