Parliamentary Committee Endorses Suspension of French Loan Plans

By Moe Moe 12 December 2018

NAYPYITAW — The Joint Public Accounts Committee of the Union Parliament has urged the legislature to suspend plans to accept loans from the French Development Agency (AFD) for projects in Yangon.

The committee said some of the projects in the feasibility study report need an in-depth review and that the report fails to provide detailed cost and profit estimates or financial assessments of the projects.

“Suppose we give the proposal a nod while we are not very sure about the projects and Parliament approves it. Then who will take responsibility for it if people voice opposition and delays occur in the implementation process?” U Aung Min, the committee’s vice chairman, told reporters in Naypyitaw on Monday.

Plans to accept loans worth 70 million euros ($79.3 million) from the AFD were suspended in November after lawmakers raised concerns. The Yangon Region government and mayor of Yangon then discussed the plans with the Joint Public Accounts Committee, which endorsed the suspension.

According to the Yangon Region government, the loans would be used to upgrade parks and markets, build car parking facilities, develop riverfront areas, conserve cultural heritage sites and dredge the Nga Moe Yeik Creek, an undeveloped waterway in Yangon that the regional government believes could be used for public transport.

“To take a foreign loan, it must be clear exactly how much of it will be used for which project. The feasibility study should be clear, as should the costs. But now I doubt that money would be enough for so many projects,” U Tin Tun Naing, a Lower House lawmaker representing Yangon’s Seikkyi Kanaungto Township, told reporters.

According to Deputy Finance and Planning Minister U Maung Maung Win, the interest on the loans would be 0.77 percent. He said the EU would provide an addition grant of 9.5 million euros ($10.8 million) toward the projects and that Myanmar will also benefit from them via technology transfers.

The Union Parliament is schedule to decide whether or not to approve the loans on Thursday.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.