Rangoon Govt to Put ‘New City’ Project Out to Tender

By May Kha 29 August 2014

RANGOON — The Rangoon Divisional government will invite private companies to tender for the right to construct a massive extension to Burma’s biggest city, in an about-face from regional officials who had been criticized for announcing that an unheard-of company would build the project.

The 30,000-acre development on farmland to the west of the current city limits was first announced in the divisional legislature last week with Chief Minister Myint Swe reportedly approving the awarding of the project to the Myanma Setana Myothit Public Company.

But with Burma’s central government claiming to have been unaware of the project, a planned session of the divisional Parliament was canceled on Thursday for an emergency meeting.

“The meeting was called because of media reporting [about the project]. It came to the decision [to put the project out to tender],”said a regional government official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The decision was reported in Friday’s New Light of Myanmar, which did not refer to the change of heart, but said the “new city” was being planned “Due to the rapid increase in population and socio-economic development.”

“Without spending from the government budget, the city expansion plan will be carried out through private investment of developers and the public,” the state-owned newspaper reported, citing a statement from the Rangoon Divisional government.

“At present the plan has been submitted to the Union Government for approval in accordance with existing laws, rules, regulations and directives and tenders will be extended to potential future developers in the near future in a transparent manner.”

Divisional lawmaker Nyo Nyo Thin, who represents the Bahan (2) constituency, welcomed the latest announcement.

“The Rangoon government deserves credit if it makes sure there is transparency,” Nyo Nyo Thin said. “However, we still have to wait and see how it acts.”

Before the rethink, the entirely unknown Myanma Setana Myothit Public Company was set to invest US$8 billion to build the project between the Pan Hlaing River and the Twante Canal, which was to include 20,000 affordable apartments, a 1,000-pupil school, a home for the aged and five bridges.