Transparency in Delayed $2B Development Project Requested in Lower House
By The Irrawaddy 13 November 2018
YANGON—A $2 billion development project to be undertaken by the Ministry of Construction and a private company in Yangon was questioned in the Parliament’s Lower House on Tuesday over its lack of transparency. Despite the project agreement being signed two years ago, no start appears to have been made on it and the revenue-sharing deal between the government and the private company remains unclear.
Daw Khin San Hlaing, a National League for Democracy (NLD) lawmaker, raised questions about the Eco Green City project to be located on the Yangon-Mandalay Highway. The 1,453-acre development, which is to include housing, a logistics hub, mixed-use zones and other elements, is projected to be built near the proposed Hanthawaddy International Airport and was officially launched in December 2017 in the presence of the then-construction minister U Win Khaing and Yangon Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein as well as local partners from the private company, Alliance Group of Companies.
The 10-year project is a Union level development project and is one of the Myanmar government’s four “mega development projects” with facilities ranging from information technology manufacturing to logistics to commercial and residential zones on more than 13,000 acres of land in the country’s commercial capital Yangon and near Mandalay, the country’s second-largest city.
The project was granted to the private company by the previous government in February 2016, and an initial agreement was inked less than one week before their handover to the NLD government in March 2016. The agreement stated that the project had to be started within six months.
In the Lower House today, Daw Khin San Hlaing questioned the revenue-sharing deal between the government and the private company and urged the Ministry of Construction to be transparent on the project. She urged them to let it be known whether the project has started and if there is any legal agreement with the government for revenue sharing.
In response to the questions, the construction ministry’s deputy minister U Kyaw Lin said no work has been started yet on the ground as they have been working on preparing a masterplan for the project and site clearing since 2016.
“Now we have fenced the whole project area,” he said.
He said a draft outline of the revenue-sharing agreement would be finalized by the end of this month for submission to the Attorney General’s Office. Upon the Attorney General’s approval, it would then be submitted to Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) for their approval, he added.
“If the MIC passes it, we will be able to sign the agreement in February next year before the project is started,” he told the parliament.
Daw Khin San Hlaing said she was not pleased with the reply from the ministry.
“They should not be in a rush to develop state-owned land without a proper plan. It should be reserved for future city expansion.”
The Irrawaddy’s reporter Htet Naing Zaw contributed to this report from Naypyitaw.