Yangon Lawmakers Call Local Govt’s Industrial Zone Projects ‘Unrealistic’
By Thazin Hlaing 14 June 2018
YANGON — Yangon lawmakers have criticized the industrial zone projects of the regional government as “unrealistic.”
Lawmakers on Tuesday discussed the regional government’s plan to establish 11 new industrial zones on the city’s outskirts. It was announced by Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein last month on the sidelines of the Yangon Investment Forum 2018 as a way to address unequal development across the region.
On June 5, Yangon Mayor U Maung Maung Soe submitted a report to the regional Parliament about the proposed zones, slated for the southern and northern fringes of the city. The proposed zones in Kungyangon, Kawhmu, Twante, Thanlyin, Kyauktan, Kayan, Thongwa, Taikkyi, Hmawbi, Hlegu and Htantabin townships are to be built on land ranging in size from 750 to 1,871 acres.
Though the plan has good intentions of spurring regional development and creating jobs, it should be reviewed to be realistic on the ground, said Kyauktan Township lawmaker U Zaw Moe Lwin.
“Those industrial zones need to be successful if they are intended for regional development. Otherwise, locals will just lose their farms and nothing will change,” said U Zaw Moe Lwin.
It is unrealistic to set up industrial zones in 11 townships at the same time, said Dagon Township lawmaker U Kyaw Zeya.
The regional government should stop “daydreaming” since it has only two years until the next election in 2020, he said.
“I want the regional government to do only what is realistic,” he said.
The government should set up a model industrial zone first in a specific township and implement more zones according to experience gained in the process, suggested U Kyaw Zeya.
“There are 29 industrial zones in Yangon Region. Compared to industrial zones of neighboring countries, ours hardly attract foreign investment. Though those industrial zones were established a long time ago, a lot has yet to be fulfilled in terms of electricity, transportation, security and the rule of law,” said Mayangone Township lawmaker U Yan Shin.
As thousands of acres will be used for industrial zones, it will have significant impact on the agricultural sector of Yangon Region, said U Tin Win, a Coco Islands lawmaker.
“A total of 12,302.32 acres will be required for the project. The production of agricultural produce will decline if those farmlands are taken. So, there is a need to reclaim new farmlands,” said U Tin Win.
According to the government report, 1091.96 acres in Kungyangon, 1,000 acres in Kawhmu, 850 acres in Twante, 1,088 acres in Thanlyin, 1051.36 acres in Kyauktan, 1,000 acres in Kayan, 1,871 acres in Thongwa, 1,000 acres in Taikkyi, 750 acres in Hmawbi, 1,000 acres in Hlegu and 1,600 acres in Htantabin are earmarked for industrial zones.
Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.