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business

Dawei project gathers pace


THE INITIAL Bt37-billion phase of the Dawei Special Economic Zone will by ready to kick off before the end of this year after Myanmar’s government signs a procurement contract this month with Italian-Thai Development (ITD), said company president Premchai Karnasuta.

He said yesterday in Yangon after participating in a ceremony to open a representative office of the Export-Import Bank of Thailand that he had met with government officials early this week to discuss getting the Dawei project moving, and received assurance that the procurement contract would be signed this month.
The initial phase, which was delayed by last year’s Myanmar election and the installation of a new government, will cover 20,000 rai (3,200 hectares) of the total 120,000-rai Dawei project.
“Once Myanmar’s government has signed the procurement contract, we will be ready to begin the initial phase immediately, after we invested Bt7 billion to develop some of the roads and other infrastructure since last year after our group won the construction contract,” Premchai said.
The initial phase will involve development of infrastructure such as roads, electricity systems, water systems, and industrial estates. 

Construction delayed
ITD and its partner Rojana Industrial Park won the bid to develop the initial phase in August 2015. Construction was supposed to begin in June last year but the project was delayed by the election. 
The contract includes a concession of 50 years plus 25 years once the construction is complete.
The investment budget will come from ITD’s internal cash flow and project financing from Bangkok Bank and others such as the Export-Import Bank of Thailand, Premchai said.
He added that once the initial phase gets under way in the second half of this year, it would employ more than 10,000 Myanmar construction workers. 
This phase is expected to be |complete and its industrial estates to begin sales to investors in |2019.
A number of investors have expressed interest in the first phase of the Dawei SEZ, from Thailand, mainland China, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan. 
They are interested in labour-intensive businesses such as garments, foods and consumer products. They are expected to create between 60,000 and 100,000 jobs for Myanmar people, he said.
“We suggest that Thai manufacturers invest in Dawei so they can benefit from tax incentives,” he said, noting that unlike Thailand, Myanmar still enjoyed the Generalised System of Preferences offered by developed economies.
After the initial phase gets under way, ITD is also interested in bidding for later phases of the Dawei project, Premchai said. 
 

Published : June 09, 2017

By : SOMLUCK SRIMALEE THE NATION YANGON