Burma

Rangoon Govt Rep Clarifies Development Priorities

By Moe Myint 29 September 2016

RANGOON – The head of Rangoon Parliament’s Finance, Planning and Economic Affairs Committee told the press on Thursday of the divisional government’s priorities for the development of the commercial capital throughout the rest of the year.

Daw Sandar Min said that Rangoon Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein informed committee members of 24 planned projects for Rangoon to be introduced throughout his term in governance term, which ends in 2020.

Currently, however, the focus will be on 11 issues: the management of city expansion, pursuit of a resolution to the problem of squatters, a relocation of the jetty on the Yangon River, an upgrade to the circle rail line, a reduction in traffic congestion, a renewal of the industrial zones, an upgrade to traffic lights, and a re-examination of the city’s bus routes.

The Irrawaddy spoke to two regional lawmakers from the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) on Thursday, U Thawda Aung and U Tin Maung Tun, and asked for verification of this project list. They refrained from commenting, saying that they had not been informed of the chief minister’s development strategy.

The Rangoon divisional government has faced recent criticism from its constituents regarding its effectiveness in addressing the many issues in the region; the parliament just began its second session on Thursday after being closed for more than three months.

Daw Sandar Min explained some difficulties and challenges of the delay in providing the results for which constituents are waiting.

“When we look at these big projects, they are impossible to fix within 30 days, especially, the massive case surrounding the issue of squatters. Two months is insufficient time in which to handle it,” she said, a reference to the NLD’s 100-day plan.

Some of the Rangoon government’s current projects were inherited by the previous military-backed administration, including developments to expand the city. Former Rangoon chief minister—and now one of two Union Vice Presidents—U Myint Swe had reportedly selected three local firms to act as the primary developers for new city projects. U Phyo Min Thein reconsidered the choices and the projects once he entered into the role himself.

“The developers are always thinking of their own profits when they build their designs. That’s why we were dissatisfied with the previous approach to city expansion,” Daw Sandar Min said, speculating on why such changes were initiated by the NLD-led government.

She explained that the Rangoon government would propose their own conceptual plans and designs for development projects—to be first approved by parliament and then monitored in each phase.

Once the draft is submitted to the legislature, Daw Sandar Min said, lawmakers would be able to raise questions about “how realistic” the projects are, and debate their economic or political benefit to the public.

After earning parliamentary approval, the Rangoon divisional government would invite bidders to compete in an open tender to lead the implementation of the projects.

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