Locals from Kyauk Phyu SEZ criticize the Chinese Investors

On 30th December, the government of Myanmar announced that the CITIC Consortium, which comprises of 6 Chinese companies, wins the bid to develop Kyauk Phyu SEZ. Mr. Win Shein, the MP from Kyauk Phyu said, the last minute agreement before the current government hand over the power to the new NLD-led government, could involve fraud and corruption between the government and Chinese investors. The bid for the SEZ takes 24 months, 16 companies have compete for the bid, but the government approve CITIC in rush. CITIC Consortium states it will invest about 9 bn US$ for the Kyauk Phyu SEZ project, which covers 4200 acre of lands.

Demand for power up 15%: minister

The country’s demand for power has increased by 15 per cent annually due to the increasing number of factories and workshops and high population density, Khin Maung Soe, union minister for electric power says.

Between the 2011-12 financial year and 2014-15, the ministry built nine hydropower plants with an installed capacity of 626 megawatts and 10 gas-fired power plants with an installed capacity of 877 megawatts.

In addition, the installation of 1,350 miles of power lines and 1,454 sub-power stations have been completed.

Japan raises stake in Dawei project

The Thai Cabinet today approved the proposed increase in Japan’s stake in the Dawei development project to 33.33 per cent. Under the Finance Ministry’s proposal, the stakes of Thailand and Myanmar will fall from 50:50 to 33.33 per cent. The investment remains capped at Bt100 million per each country.

Sansern Kaewkamnerd, the spokesperson of the Prime Minister’s Officer, said that the change followed Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak’s visit to Japan.

Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said that the three parties would meet on December 14 with the high-level working group and Dawei Development Co Ltd’s representatives.

Upper Paunglaung hydropower project opened in Sittang River valley

Myanmar’s 140-MW Upper Paunglaung hydropower project officially opened this week in a ceremony that included officials from the country’s Minsitry of Electric Power and President U Thein Sein.

Located in central Myanmar along the Paunglaung River, the $24 million plant will help meet the country’s demand for power, which is increasing about 15 percent per year. An estimated 50 percent of Myanmar has no access to the power grid.

The hydropower project includes a 1,700-foot long, 322-foothigh “roller-compacted” concrete dam that will impound a reservoir of more than a million acre-feet. It will generate 454 million KWH and the electricity generated will be transmitted through the national power grid.

Environmentalists Hope for Stronger Safeguards under NLD

In the wake of recent disasters that have shone a light on the human toll wrought by a lack of environmental and development-related safeguards, local activists are hoping to reverse Burma’s abysmal environmental protection record when a new government assumes office in March next year.

In July and August, swaths of the country were inundated by severe flooding, which in some areas triggered deadly mudslides, exacerbated in part by deforestation. Less than a week ago, a landslide near a jade mine in Kachin State’s Hpakant Township claimed more than 100 lives when a man-made mountain of earthen waste collapsed on workers’ makeshift huts.

How could we do better EIA/SIA?

“The investors have just submitted to MIC, but most of the projects are already started (on the ground). Rules and regulations are just follow-up activities and EIA/SIA is just for ticking the box”

Myeik developer plans two island resorts

Compared with other destinations in Myanmar such as Bagan and Inle Lake, the islands in the Andaman Sea off the southern tip of the country are still underdeveloped, with just a handful of hotels and resorts.

“There are so many beautiful places in this archipelago, but not many resorts or facilities yet to attract tourism,” said U Aung Chain, project director and general manager of Myeik Public Corporation.

The entire area had just five hotels and motels with a total of 196 rooms by the end of 2014, according to the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.

This may soon change. For the past two years, U Aung Chain’s company has been trying to secure Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) permission to develop two islands – Saw Mon Hla and Kun Thee, which means “betel nut”.

Myanmar will join the first time on EITI report –7 Days Daily (Burmese language)

“Myanmar has $2.5 Bn income from oil and gas industry which is the data provide from the government” said Mr. Wan Aung, the CSO representative from Myanmar EITI committee. However, the figures will be much higher, as it excludes some of the oil and gas exploration site. The EITI report will release in January 2016. But, Myanmar will not report some other sectors, like gems. Myanmar government said the annual revenue from Jade is $650 mn, but the recent Global Witness report said, it could be $31 bn, and it equals 48% of the country’s GDP.