- By Ye Khaung Nyunt
The Yangon Region Government has plans to carry out 79 projects in Yangon Region within this year. Among the many projects include construction of new industrial zones, upgrading old ones, opening a Yangon Innovation Centre for the youths, and many more. The following is an interview with the person taking the lead on these initiatives, Naw Pan Thinzar Myo, the regional Minister for Kayin Ethnic Affairs.
Overview of the year’s projects
Q: Could you tell us about current implementations in the Yangon Region for 2019?
A: There are 79 projects to be implemented in Yangon Region for 2019. We have compiled them as a list in the nation’s Project Bank. Apart from Cocogyun Tsp, we will be establishing small-scale industrial zones in 11 townships on the outskirts. We will also be upgrading existing industrial zones. The Ministry of Construction is currently managing the roads, bridges and infrastructure necessary for this task. They just began the process for transferring the rights from the Housing Department over to the Yangon Region cabinet last month.
The Yangon Region government needs that authority to upgrade the existing 29 industrial zones. We anticipated questions about whether we will not be renovating the old if we are building new zones. So, the Ministry of Construction began transferring land rights, permits to repair roads in the industrial zones, and other rights to the regional government over a month ago.
They haven’t transferred everything yet, but we will begin upgrading the existing industrial zones once the transfer is complete. As for the new industrial zone project, we will be constructing them on 11 townships on the edge of Yangon, and all of them combined make up 1,000 acres. Among the 11 zones, investors are interested in 2 of them: Htantabin and Hlegu zones.
The proposal for those two zones has been read at the Hluttaw and we are preparing to submit it to Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC). The regional government is striving to being work on the two industrial zones within six months. They’ll also be included in Invest Myanmar 2019 Project.
Two, star industrial zones for 2019
Q: Prioritizing the Htantabin and Hlegu industrial zones, how long will it take to implement them?
A: Each of the industrial zones will take nine years to accomplish. They’re roughly divided into three phases. The Htantabin project is in two phases and the Hlegu project is in three phases. During each phase, for example, on a 1,500-acre project we won’t be able to start work on the entire area at once. If we start on 500 acres first, there will be local residents concerned for their livelihoods, so the regional government will be bringing over the investors who will be investing in their land. We will only carry out our projects if all the residents agree unanimously. The projects all intend to bring development to their respective area and aims to bring employment opportunities to the locals. We also aim to increase our exports and we hope the produce a lot of finished goods from those two industrial zones to offer import substitution.
I’d like to point out there are a lot of positive benefits to be gained from this. We will be explaining everything in detail to the people in Htantabin and Hlegu. We have plans to acquire their feedback and opinions. These two industrial zones are the highest priorities in the 11 projects we are directly responsible for, among the 79 projects for 2019. Most of the projects will be handled by Minister Daw Nilar Kyaw.
Elevated expressway, railway
Q: The Ministry of Construction announced a shortlist of pre-qualified companies, in December 2018, for constructing an elevated expressway in Yangon, and there are whispers of an elevated railway (or mass rapid transit system) as well. Could you comment on that?
A: With 2.8 million regular commuters in Yangon, we welcome the initiative to construct an elevated railway if the Union Minister decides to pursue it. Currently, we’ve explained to the regional Hluttaw MPs that an elevated railway company has made a submission to the regional investment committee. We will be submitting this to MIC and the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw.
Q: With 2.8 million commuters using motor vehicles in Yangon, how many of them do you think will be using the elevated railway if it’s constructed?
A: According to the company’s proposal, they estimate the elevated transit system will ferry 300,000 commuters daily. Right now, we have 100,000 using the existing trains, so if the elevated trains were to run, we’d have 400,000 of the 2.8 million regular commuters using trains.
Q: How is the Traffic Control Center in People’s Park doing?
A: Minister Daw Nilar Kyaw is heading efforts for the control center. She said they are in the final stages of negotiation. This project was started in the previous government administration and we have notified the contracted company to complete it soon. I was informed that she told them to either complete the job or be added to our black list, but this is just something I’ve heard.
(Translated by Chris)