Yangon city project to boost FDI

Despite some criticism over the regional government’s involvement in commercial activities, the new Yangon city project is expected to attract new investments from international players over the next few years, according to Phyo Min Thein, Yangon region chief minister.
 
He said the government would speed up the development of Yangon new city, as it would be complementary to rapid growth of the existing commercial hub.
 
“This project will create two million jobs, support local businesses and attract foreign companies. It will also see the development of world-class sustainable and reliable infrastructure and include integrated, affordable living for all segments of the community,” he said.
 
Building a strong industrial base would create jobs that will ensure trickle-down benefits for other sectors and benefit the country and its people over time, he said.
 
According to Phyo Min Thein, the regional government has proposed a site area of 88,525  rai (14,164 hectares) to the west of Yangon river for the new city development. He said a new special economic zone and deepsea port would also be implemented on the proposed site area of 126,464 rai (20,234 hectares) to be aligned with the project.
 
“We aim to improve industrial development, job creation and tradฌing to increase inflows of foreign direct investment in Yangon. We will ensure we strike a balance between development and environmental conservation, as we want Yangon to become a green city,” he said.
 
The project would ease congestion in Yangon and fulfil the city’s housing needs, he added.
 
“We have systematically collected data about the current property demand, and found out more than 150,000 households in Yangon are eager to buy their own apartments. High demand for new apartments is already here. It is a key area that investors are eyeing for longterm investments,” Phyo Min Thein said.
 
Investors from China, Korea and Asean countries showing their interฌest in investing in the project, he said, adding that he expects the project to help a great deal with addressing the problem of squatters in Yangon.
 
“We also need to consider the welฌfare of squatters living in remote areas. We cannot leave them alone. Instead, we need to improve their standards of living so that they will be excellent human resources for furฌther development of Yangon. We hope this project will also help in this regard,” he said.
 
He said the new city development would include three main residential zones – affordable, middleclass and highend, in addition to public spaces for recreation and a mixeduse zone to include hotels, shopping malls, and wholesale and retail centres.
 
Four key areas would be emphasised in the project – identity, transport, healthcare and education.
 
The city would be comprised of modern urban infrastructure including main roads, elevated expressways and collector roads. 
 
Three connection routes of around 19 kilometres would link to the expressway, allowing access to different parts of the city within 30 minutes.
The main mixeduse zones of the new city would be connected through waterways by utilising the city’s main rivers. 
 
Urban green zones would account for 15 per cent of the city’s business district while renewable energy would be the main source of supply, mainly through solar panels to be located on the roofs of housings and commercial buildings.
 
“Initially, we estimate energy demand for the new city to be 1,000 megawatts, and we will generate solar power by using 5,058 rai of land,” he said.
 
Once fully completed, the project would cover an area twice the size of Singapore. The first phase of development, estimated to exceed US$1.5 billion (Bt48 billion), will include the construction of five village townships, two bridges, 26 kilometres of artery roads, 10 square kilometres of indusฌtrial estate, power plant, transmisฌsion and distribution facilities, fresh water supply and wastewater treatment plants. 
 
The chief minister said the project development would be primarily based on a publicprivate partnership model, and the private sector will play a key role in equity investments. Two months ago, he announced the launch of New Yangon Development Co (NYDC), appointing NilarKyaw, regional minister for electricity, industry, transport and communications as the firm’s chairperson.
 
The firm was incorporated under the Special Companies Act and is wholly owned by the Yangon Region Government. Earlier this month, the firm signed a framework agreement with Hong Konglisted China Communications Construction Company Ltd for the preparation and submission of a detailed project proposal to provide infrastructure works related to the first phase of the project. 
 
The framework agreement marks the first stage of the NYDC Challenge Model, an adaptation of the globally-accepted Swiss Challenge which allows fair competition. 
 
By KHINE KYAW
Myanmar Eleven
Yangon