Lawmaker Presses Union Govt to Share Pipeline Profits with Shan State Govt

By Htet Naing Zaw 27 June 2017

Naypyitaw — A Shan State lawmaker in the Lower House has asked the Union government to share the profits from the Shwe natural gas pipeline for development in Shan State.

During the Lower House session on Monday, Nan Kham Aye representing Shan State’s Namtu Township asked a question about the annual earnings from gas sold to China, and when a share of the profits would be given to the Shan State government.

In 2012, under U Thein Sein’s administration, the Shan State Parliament approved a lawmaker’s proposal to seek 5 percent of the profits from the gas pipeline.

The China-backed oil and natural gas pipeline starts near Rakhine State’s Kyaukphyu and runs through Magwe and Mandalay divisions and Shan State before entering China at the border city of Ruili in Yunnan Province.

The pipeline is supplied from the Shwe gas field in the Andaman Sea and is being developed by the Daewoo International Corp, state-owned Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) Videsh, Gas Authority of India, Korean Gas Corporation, and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC).

“The Union government should create opportunities for equitable resource sharing among regions and states,” the lawmaker told Parliament.

Deputy Minister of Electricity and Energy Dr. Tun Lwin said since the start of production in 2013 to the end of the 2016-17 fiscal year, MOGE has earned a dividend of US$121 million, but it has given all of the funds to the Union government as per the 2008 military-drafted Constitution.

MOGE, the deputy minister said, had to obtain a loan of €86.16 million from China Development Bank to implement the project, and the debt has increased to €103.64 million with interest.

“As we’re still repaying the loan, we have not made a profit,” said the deputy minister.

Lawmaker Nan Kham Aye then asked the deputy minister to provide a timeframe for when Shan State could expect to see its 5 percent of the profits.

“Regions that have sacrificed their environmental and social well-being for the national interest should receive the rewards they deserve,” said the lawmaker.

The deputy minister said his ministry gave all earnings to the Union government and it was the responsibility of the planning and finance ministry to collect and manage taxes and distribution.

“The planning and finance ministry distributes State funds to the Union as well as divisional and state governments. Profits from this project are shared among the entire country,” said the deputy minister.