Irrawaddy Business Roundup

By Zaw Zaw Htwe 10 October 2020

On Friday morning, Myanmar reported 22,445 COVID-19 cases, including 535 deaths and 6,366 recoveries.

Yangon’s health authorities said they can care for the city’s patients despite more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases being reported each day.

In this week’s economic news, six Chinese companies won contracts for solar power projects across Myanmar. A Singapore firm also said it is planning to leave the controversial Chinese New City Development Project in Karen State.

The Ministry of Health and Sports ordered all garment factories in Yangon to remain closed until Oct. 21 to stop the spread of coronavirus and workers face hardships as their wages dry up.

Singapore firm to leave Chinese project in Myanmar

The Singapore-based financial services firm, Fincy, said it will leave a controversial city development project in Myanmar being run by Chinese investors, the Yatai New City in Shwe Kokko village in Karen State.

The investors are accused of involvement in illegal cryptocurrency and online casinos near the Thai border.

Fincy said on Wednesday it will leave the project due to media reports alleging its services were being used to prevent law enforcement from tracking financial transactions.

It denied all claims of nefarious dealing, saying it has zero tolerance of illegal activities and unethical practices.

The US$15-billion (19 trillion kyats) project is a collaboration between the Karen State Border Guard Force, an armed group led by Colonel Chit Thu formerly known as the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army with close ties to Myanmar’s military, and the Hong Kong-registered Yatai International Holding Group.

Six Chinese firms win solar project contracts 

Myanmar’s Ministry of Electricity and Energy has announced that six Chinese firms have won the tender to implement 16 out of 30 solar power projects across the country.

Since May, the ministry invited bids for the construction of 30 ground-mounted solar projects capable of generating a total of 1 gigawatt of power under 20-year build, operate and own contracts.

Each solar site must see investment of at least $20 million (25.8 billion kyats).

Among the tender winners, Sungrow Power Supply Co. Ltd. won the tender to implement eight projects. A consortium of SPIC Yunnan International Power Investment Co. Ltd. and Khaing Lon Gems won four projects. Two China-Myanmar joint ventures and two Chinese companies won a project each.

Each project is expected to generate 30 to 40 megawatts of electricity.

Garment factories told to remain closed

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, all garment factories in Yangon have been ordered to remain closed until Oct. 21.

Operations were ordered to cease on Sept. 24 with firms being told to work from home.

Factory workers in Yangon are facing serious financial hardships since they have not received any salaries due to the extension of COVID-19 restrictions, said labor rights organizations.

The Ministry of Labor, Immigration and Population has pledged to cover 40 percent of salaries of employees who paid social security tax but workers say they have received nothing.

Factories owners also say they are facing canceled orders due to the long-term lockdowns.

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Irrawaddy Business Roundup