An MP of the opposition Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) has questioned the government's approval to implement four LNG (liquefied natural gas) power plant projects worth over US$5 billion without inviting a tender.
MP Maung Myint asked the question about any transparency in the project procedures during a regular session of the Lower House of Parliament held in Nay Pyi Taw on June 4.
The government reportedly signed agreements on building four LNG power plants— one in Kanpauk in partnership with Total Gas & Power Business Services S. A. S and SEMENS A. G, one in Ayeyawady Region with Zhefu Holding Co Ltd and Supreme Trading Co Ltd, one in Yangon Region with TTCL Public Company Limited and one in Kyaukphyu, Rakhine State, with Sinohydro Corporation Limited and Supreme Trading Co Ltd.
"I learnt from newspapers on January 31 that a ceremony took place to present notices to proceed to the companies that will be implementing the LNG power plant projects. The four projects will cost over US$5 billion. They are the largest projects in Myanmar. The President Office has issued notification No. 1/2017 for inviting tender. But I have learnt that no tender was invited for those projects," said MP Maung Myint.
For Supreme Trading Co Ltd, it has the opportunity to implement two projects. The company is run by wife of Kyaw Win, who just recently resigned as union minister for planning and finance following alleged corruption. Moreover, that company has close relations with UE Myanmar Co Ltd, owned by the ex-minister, the MP commented.
In response to the question, Union Minister for Electricity and Energy Win Khaing said the government approved those projects without inviting a tender with the aim of serving national and regional interests after the investors offered to implement them on a joint venture basis.
He pointed out a policy adopted by Myanmar Investment Commission according to the resolution of a meeting (9/2017) of the Economics Committee held on June 11 last year. The policy says as per Section 12 of the Electricity Law, the concerned ministry has power to give permission to any local and foreign investor in implementing large-scale power generation projects, he explained.
MP Maung Myint however questioned the definition of the union government's approval, stressing the need for tender, assessment and cabinet approval.
He went on to say that the projects approved by the previous government led by Thein Sein were cancelled when the current government took office. So, these projects could also face closure when next government comes, causing unnecessary losses, he pointed out.