Yangon Lawmakers Say Port Project Short on Specifics, Ask for Details

By The Irrawaddy 11 June 2018

YANGON — Yangon Region lawmakers today complained about the government’s plans to build a large new port near the mouth of the Yangon River for being short on specifics.

The regional government submitted plans last week for a 1,053-acre multipurpose terminal with a 2.2-km waterfront in Kawhmu Township, in Yangon’s south. The government said the new port would also feature a liquid bulk terminal for storing oil imports.

The new terminal would handle both exports and imports as the draught of the river in the area was nine meters, deeper than at the existing Thilawa port nearby, according to the government’s project report.

“As the results of the feasibility study by Royal Haskoning and Surbana Jurong point out, the project has good potential to be successful. That’s why the government submits the report about the project to Parliament,” the report says.

The government says the project will promote regional development, create jobs and attract foreign investment. But frustrated by the lack of details, six lawmakers on Monday raised several questions and concerns. They wanted to know how much the project would cost, how long it would take to build, and the social and environmental impacts it might have on surrounding areas.

During the discussion, lawmaker U Nay Phone Latt said the project report failed to explain why the new port was needed and how the government would develop it.

“The report says the government could make the most of the project’s proximity to the sea. But with the project’s slated oil storage facilities, the government should also care about the new port’s social and environmental impacts on local livelihoods,” he said.

Fellow lawmaker Daw Soe Pa Pa Hlaing said the project should not be discussed yet because the report was missing the most crucial information of all — how the land, now occupied by farms, would be legally confiscated.

Lawmakers agreed that the government should submit more details about the project.

The speaker asked the government to send a relevant official to the Parliament on Wednesday to explain the project further.