Investments pouring into Thilawa SEZ (B)

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  • The second step of development for Thilawa SEZ (B) has started and investment prospects are very encouraging.
    Myanmar-Japan Thilawa Development Ltd. (MJTD) began the second step, the construction phase, in December 2017 and plans to finish construction on 66.44 hectares by 2019. A representative from MJTD said that around 90 companies are involved in Phase 1 of Thilawa SEZ Zone (A) and (B) and they were granted permission based on their compliance to environmental conservation standards and job creation potential.
    After the completion of Zone (A), work on 100 hectares of Zone (B) started in February 2017 and the construction of basic infrastructure is slated to be finished by August 2018. Half of the process for foreign companies leasing land in Zone (B) is completed, said an MJTD representative.
    On 1 March JFE Meranti Myanmar Co., one of the first investing companies, began construction of their factory, which is scheduled for completion by 2020. The factory will provide about 300 jobs to local residents. JFE Steel Corporation is the second-largest steel company in Japan and is currently the biggest investor in Thilawa SEZ.
    In its current state, Thilawa SEZ is not as successful as SEZs in Myanmar’s neighbouring countries, but the basic infrastructure of Zone (B) will have the first step completed in 2018 and the second step in 2019. Thilawa SEZ is currently employing 4,000 to 5,000 people, and after the expansion of the project is expected to employ 30,000 to 50,000 people. Some 50 per cent of the first of Zone (B) of the first phase has been implemented so far, and houses have been built for displaced residents in ward 3
    Work on Zone (A) began in 2014 and investment permits were issued to companies. By September 2015 around 79 companies had been operating on 400 hectares of Zone (A). This year after most basic infrastructure in Zone (B) is finished, an an additional five companies have begun operating, raising the number to 84 companies currently working in Thilawa SEZ.
    The Myanmar Government holds 51 per cent of Thilawa SEZ and the Japan Government holds 49 per cent. From Myanmar’s side, a lot of public companies and individual businesses are involved in the SEZ. From Japan’s side, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and other Japanese companies have invested in the SEZ. The MJTD is working on the electricity and energy, roads, water pipelines, and wastewater disposal systems in Thilawa SEZ.
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