Mar 23, 2014

Greater Yangon Plan to cost US$ 4.5 billion

The overall cost of the Greater Yangon Plan to develop Myanmar’s economic hub will reach approximately US$ 4.5 billion and foreign investment will be invited, Yangon city officials said at the recent Myanmar Infrastructure Summit.

“To implement the Greater Yangon Plan, we will invite foreign investment. Our target for the project is this year. Under the plan, there are 77 projects of which 26 are for civil development. The other 51 are infrastructural projects,” said Toe Aung, deputy chief of the Town Planning and Land Management Department under the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC).

Soaring land prices and pending land use policy changes are hindering the current implementation of the plan, he remarked.

“Implementation of our projects is usually delayed because of land issues. The only law we have for land cases is the land confiscation law (1892). We need to consider amending it as appropriate while solving the issues of land compensation and residents,” he said.

“Although we do our best in implementing the projects, it sometimes involves damage to the people. Generally, the projects are very beneficial for the country. On the other hand, some of the residents suffer the damages. For those cases, proper land use policies must be in place. Currently, these policies are just on draft. We can’t say when they will be completed.”

A Singaporean business person who attended the summit blamed high land prices on price manipulation.

“I am not sure how the Myanmar government will handle high land prices. According to a government department, respective ministries are planning to establish zoning committees to control land prices. Details are not known yet,” he said.

Regarding foreign investment for the Greater Yangon Plan, the YCDC will evaluate the proposals of foreign investors. For projects where competition is required, tenders will be bid, said Toe Aung. “All of these will not start immediately but step by step. The 77 projects are for various sectors, such as transport, waste disposal and water supply.”

The YCDC is carrying out the Greater Yangon Plan in coordination with the Japan International Cooperation Agency. Some of the projects are funded by Japanese government loans. The JICA’s role is prominent, especially in waste management and water supply areas.

“In fact, land issues are of public concern. For example, if a transport project will be carried out, its social impacts must be considered, such as who will suffer damages. We should prioritize the ones that involve the least damage,” said Toe Aung.

Source: Eleven Weekly Media