Yangon govt seeks to draw people to circular trains

In an attempt to encourage commuters to use circular trains, Myanma Railways will upgrade the circular train system in Yangon, according to Nilar Kyaw from the Yangon Region department of electricity, industry and transportation.

Responding to a proposal to rapidly solve traffic jam problems in Yangon at the second regular session of Yangon Region parliament on May 26, Nilar Kyaw said around 70,000 commuters use circular trains daily. This accounts for one per cent of the total population of Yangon.

International firms invest in Thilawa SEZ

Foreign investors, including the US, Australia and France, are making investments in Yangon’s Thilawa Special Economic Zone through Japan and Singapore.

Zone (A) of the Thilawa SEZ was developed on 211 hectares, and businesses are already up and running there. Myanmar and Japan agreed to develop another 500 hectares as Zone (B) on September 23 last year. The zone will be ready for businesses to open by the end of this year, according to Myanmar Japan Thilawa Development Ltd.

Rice exporters look to Indonesia and Korea

To increase rice exports, Myanmar is looking to Indonesia and South Korea, says Khin Maung Lwin, the assistant secretary at the Ministry of Commerce.

Myanmar exports 90 per cent of its rice overland, mostly to China, with a bulk of sea exports going to Africa. 

More than US$20 million was earned from rice exports this financial year until May 13, according to the ministry. 

Tax cuts offered for investment in poor states

The Department of Investment and Company Administration says it will give special rights, such as tax exemption, to investors in less developed regions like Rakhine, Chin and Kayah states.

Director-general Aung Naing Oo said the Myanmar Investment Bill, which is being drafted to merge the Foreign Investment Law with the Myanmar Citizens Law, would include incentives.

Dollar rise drives inflation

The rising value of the US dollar is increasing the price of imports, jeopardising agricultural loans and forcing up inflation.

Economist Than Soe said: “Prices for all imported goods have gone up. We mainly rely on imports. Basic commodity prices have increased. Some people are trying to speculate against the kyat as the central bank may circulate new bank notes.”

Rakhine demands new ferries

The residents of Rakhine State are demanding ferry services resume to southern districts along the coast and replace the 20-year-old boats, sources say.

The sinking of Aungtakhon Mark 2 that killed over 160 people in March 2015 caused state-owned boats to halt operations. Residents have struggled with transport since and demand the government resumes services.

The hovercraft are too expensive for most residents.

Export earnings from natural gas exceed $200 million

Myanmar earned over US$218 million from exports of natural gas from April 1 to May 13 in the 2016-2017 fiscal year, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

An official from the commerce ministry said: “Up to May 13, the gas sector earned S$218.052 million. In the 2015-2016 FY, the total export earnings amounted to over $4.3 billion.”

Myanmar has four gas projects: Yadana, Zawtika, Yetagon and Shwe. Gas from the Yadana, Zawtika and Yetagon projects is exported to Thailand, while the Shwe project supplies gas to China.

Government to disclose full details on tender projects

According to Yangon Region Planning and Finance Minister Myint Thaung, the details of future tender projects between the government and private companies will be fully disclosed to the public.

He said this in response to a question posed by Yangon Region MP Aung Naing Htun of Thanlyin Constituency on whether projects being implemented by “departments under the ministries, corporations and the municipality” have any plans to let the public know if there are discrepancies in their budget spending or the quality of their projects.