Kyaukphyu SEZ Tender Awarded to CITIC-led Consortium

By Moe Myint 31 December 2015

RANGOON — After a long-running tender process beset by delays, on Wednesday a government committee finally announced the successful bidders for development of the Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Burma’s Arakan State.

The project’s bid evaluation committee announced that two tenders, one for development of the deep-sea port and the other for development of the industrial zone, were each awarded to a consortium led by CITIC, a Chinese state-owned conglomerate.

According to the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar, a tender for development of a “high-class housing project” was rejected as bids did not meet the project’s requirements. A total of 10 bidders were considered for the three tenders, the evaluation committee said.

Burma’s president Thein Sein met a delegation led by CITIC chairman Chang Zheng Min on Dec. 24 in Naypyidaw, just days after he called for the results of the Kyaukphyu tender to be promptly announced “so that the next government can continue to implement the project.”

Lawmakers approved initial development of the Kyaukphyu SEZ on Tuesday, with over 400 MPs voting in favor of the 4,289-acre project, the first phase of which the government hopes to begin next year.

China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported on Thursday that the CITIC-led consortium included five Chinese and one Thai company, Charoen Pokphand Group. Alongside CITIC are Chinese firms: China Harbor Engineering Company, China Merchants Holdings (International), TEDA Investment Holding and Yunnan Construction Engineering Group, according to Xinhua.

The project’s bid evaluation committee said it would present contractual details to the government’s central body overseeing special economic zones, as established under the 2014 Special Economic Zone Law, for approval.

Since the motion to approve the Kyaukphyu project was tabled in Parliament, local civil society groups in Arakan State have urged lawmakers to delay the project—citing its potential negative environmental and social impacts—until a new government led by the National League for Democracy (NLD) takes office next year. More than 100 non-profit organizations have called for talks on the project with representatives of the new government.