Thursday, July 27, 2017

New city development project potential bone of contention

The government plans to develop a new city, from the ground up, and turn it into the country’s next premier commercial and business centre, a senior panning official said. The project, however, could stir up a lot of controversies.

U Kyaw Win, Union Minister for the Ministry of Planning and Financing told participants at the recent

Myanmar Investment Forum that the new city development will one of the most ambitious projects of the union.

“The government is considering modernising Yangon city. But weighing the advantages and disadvantages of re-developing an old commercial city or developing a new city, I think we need to go for a new city which will become our union project,” he said.

“There will be many projects involved in this union project. Local investors, individual investors, corporate investors, consortiums or foreign investment joint ventures are welcomed,” he added.

But the planned development of a new city could create a lot of controversies, especially in terms of the larger infrastructure gap, according to Daw Moe Thida, deputy director of the Department of Urban and Housing Development.

“Yangon’s population density is quite high. That’s why our minister U Kyaw Win mentioned the new city development plan. It may be a solution to the urbanisation problem but this a bit controversial from the view of the public and also from the view of some investors,” she said.

The country has very limited resources in terms of financing the infrastructure gap – the money can only come from the regional or union government budget, she said.

“So this budget has to be allocated to many areas where it is urgently needed. If the budget goes toward the new city development plan, it can take up a large slice of the budget. That project can cost a lot.

“And the Yangon city population will not like this plan as their real estate market can be destroyed,” Daw Moe Thida said.