Parliament Approves Loan from China for Purchase of Chinese Trains

By San Yamin Aung 3 December 2018

YANGON— Myanmar’s parliament has approved the government’s plan to borrow 80 million yuan ($11.6 million) from China to be used for the purchase of railway carriages from the lender.

A total of 28 carriages—14 ordinary and 14 first class—will be purchased for use on the Yangon-Mandalay railroad. According to the Ministry of Transport and Communications, more than 1,000 commuters use the route daily, with one carriage earning as much as 3 million kyats ($1,900) a day.

Transport and Communications Minister U Thant Zin Maung told the Union Parliament last month that they aim to improve train services by providing better safety and greater convenience for commuters as well as increasing Myanma Railways revenue, with the use of new carriages.

Lawmakers discussed the ministry’s plan to accept the interest-free loan on Nov. 15. Member of Parliament Daw Cho Cho of Oktwin Township, Bago Region urged officials to scrutinize the cost carefully.

“Though the loan is interest-free, we are obliged to purchase the carriages from the lender, so it is important that the products are of good quality, reasonably priced, and will not cost us far more than similar products from other countries. Because we will have to repay the loan, with or without interest,” Daw Cho Cho said.

Deputy Minister of Planning and Finance U Maung Maung Win said on Monday that what Daw Cho Cho brought up is totally right.

“The relevant ministry needs to make sure no grievance to the country [occurs] in making contracts as the follow-up of loans,” he said.