By Nyein Zaw Lin
Dawei, March 29, 2018
Parliament has approved a 4.5 billion baht (US$144.54 million/K192.72 billion) loan from Thailand to upgrade the Dawei-Hteekee Road, which will connect Dawei Special Economic Zone to the kingdom.
The loan, from the Neighbouring Countries Economic Development Cooperation Agency under Thailand’s Ministry of Finance, was approved by the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (parliament bicameral assembly) on Monday.
Deputy Minister of Construction U Kyaw Lin said Monday the upgrade work on the 156-kilometre road, which was built in 2008, no longer needs an environment impact assessment (EIA) because the project will be carried out little environmental impact.
The work “will also be cause little damage to animals living in the project area,” U Kyaw Lin said.
The project area will include some areas controlled by the armed ethnic group Karen National Union No. 4 Brigade, so the Tanintharyi regional government has been instructed to meet with officers of the KNU before the project starts.
The project will build the south economic road in the Mahar Mekong region, going through Vung Tan in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, Phnom Penh and Siem Reap in Cambodia, and Bangkok and Kanchanaburi, Thailand, and connecting with Dawei, U Kyaw Lin said.
This project will benefit not only tourism development but also social economic development, he added.
“The region will become the strategic point for trading routes that connect Dawei, India, Africa, the Middle East and Europe,” the deputy minister said.
The Dawei-Hteekee road, which connects the Economic Zone and Thailand, plays an important part and needs to be upgraded, as the Dawei Special Economic Zone has great potential for development, he said.
The road is unpaved, so for smooth transport of goods to Dawei deep-sea port, it will be upgraded to a two-lane road.
The loan is payable in 20 years with a 10-year grace period at 0.1 percent per annum interest, which must be repaid twice a year in 60 payments. The principal will be repaid twice a year in 40 payments.
After the upgrading of the road, other benefits like road pricing and other income from Dawei Special Economic Zone, regional economic growth, job opportunities and smooth transport of goods will follow, U Kyaw Lin said.