MANDALAY-MUSE RAIL PROJECT SET TO BEGIN IN 2020

NEWS

The preliminary work for the Mandalay-Muse rail project, which is among the among the projects under China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), will start next year, a senior Mandalay finance official said. U Myat Thu, Mandalay Minister for Planning and Finance, said the rail project is among the nine “essential projects” that China proposes to implement as part of the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor. He hinted that the memorandum of understanding for the project will be signed soon. Government officials revealed that a feasibility survey by Myanma Railway and China Railway Ervuan Engineering Co Ltd for the proposed main route for the project started earlier this week. The government is planning to conduct consultations to discuss issues related to land compensation and job opportunities once the construction starts.

(Source: The Myanmar Times, January 15, 2019)

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RESEARCH VIEW

According to the signed agreement, the feasibility study will be carried out within two years and will assess the environment and social impact of the proposed rail line. The project would span 431km (268 miles) and have a designed speed of 160km/h (99mph), according to China’s state-run Global Times newspaper. As Colliers sees it, the north of the country between Muse and Mandalay is seen as crucial to improving the connectivity of Myanmar to other Southeast Asian economies. It is also part of the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor – linking Yunnan with key commercial centres in Myanmar – under Beijing’s vast trade and infrastructure push the “Belt and Road Initiative”.


TOURISM RULES, REGULATIONS MAY BE RELEASED THIS MONTH: MINISTRY

NEWS

The bylaws setting out rules and regulations for the tourism industry could be released this month, according to the Hotels and Tourism Ministry. Under the bylaw, tourism businesses could directly apply to regional tourism committees instead of the ministry for licences. After the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (Lower House) passed the amended Myanmar Tourism Law in September last year, the ministry was tasked with drafting the bylaws in consultation with stakeholders. Under the new law, there are licences for in-bound, outbound and domestic destination tour operators; for hotels; for guest houses and national and regional tour guides; and for tourism-related services.

(Source: The Myanmar Times, January 14, 2019)

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RESEARCH VIEW

Generally, the country continues to attract a steady stream of overseas visitors to flagship destinations like Yangon. According to Oxford Business Group, the tourism sector in Myanmar is ahead of other industries in terms of having sector-specific policies. However, responsible business in tourism will only be achieved if the wider regulatory framework (e.g. investment laws, labour laws, environmental laws, land and cultural heritage policies, etc.) considers the current Yangon hotel market condition along with its enforcement being strengthened. The next phase of growth will demand better marketing, branding and identity of the country. A more in-depth investigation of the tourist profiles and arrival statistics is vital. This should allow the government to design and implement programs deemed ideal and suitable for the market; and eventually support the hotel and tourism businesses. 

INFRASTRUCTURE IS KEY TO EQUITABLE DEVELOPMENT

NEWS

Infrastructure plays a pivotal role in not only supporting the country’s economic growth, but also in ensuring equitable development across the country because of Myanmar’s geographical location. The Union Government inaugurated a road and hydro power plant in northern Myanmar recently to lift the socio economic standards for local ethnic people in this far-flung area. Infrastructure — the roads, railways, telecommunications, power generation and distribution network, as well as dams, irrigation and water reticulation facilities — is a key to economic prosperity. The more a country is enriched with physical infrastructures, such as roads, railways and power plants, the more the country benefits, in terms of economic advancement and equitable development. Only when we bring about equitable development, can we build trust to achieve peace. The recent achievement in northern Myanmar would enable local ethnic nationals to bond more closely and strengthen their empathy and friendship with one another, which will lead to trust and peace among the people. Roads and infrastructure are important for connecting all of us and developing our economy. Obtaining access to electric power supply grids will not just develop our lives, but also open the path to better opportunities for generations to come. Achieving electrification and a new road supports communication efforts within the country and with the whole world, and strengthens existing relations between local ethnic people.

(Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar, January 13, 2019)

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RESEARCH VIEW

While Myanmar’s economic growth is anticipated to sustain its momentum in the coming years; there is a huge need for large-scale investment in infrastructure. In particular, infrastructure projects covering road, bridge and railway construction, housing, connectivity, electricity and water supply, healthcare, education and tourism, are of immediate need for Myanmar to sustain its economic growth. Myanmar urgently needs to close its infrastructure gap, to further integrate with the world economy, and to collaborate with neighboring countries, in order to maximize its economic growth from the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and China’s One-Belt-One-Road Initiative. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) stated that Myanmar’s infrastructure gap from now to 2030 is worth US$ 120 billion. Thus, the government is accelerating its implementation of infrastructure projects, particularly on roads, bridges, railways, ports, airports, energy and power, industrial parks, economic zones, and logistics. The government welcomes investors to invest in infrastructure improvement projects under the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) or other Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreement