Sunday, August 20, 2017

Roadwork takes large chunk of Magwe Region budget

The construction and upkeep of roads is squeezing the Magwe Region coffers, so much so that that other ministries and departments are having to fight for budgetary crumbs, region lawmakers have heard.

Magwe’s Ministry of Construction and Transportation has already burned through over half of the region’s K160 billion budget, according to MP U Zaw Moe Aung (NLD; Thayet 2).

By the region government’s count, Magwe was allocated K142.79 million by the Union budget for the 2016-17 financial year, and earned an estimated revenue of K17.89 million.

Speaking at a budgetary review meeting last week ahead of Pyidaungsu Hluttaw’s discussion of the next fiscal year allotments, U Zaw Moe Aung said that the construction ministry’s spending has left little in the purse for other ministries to pursue projects.

“The Ministry for Construction and Transportation alone has used up 55pc of the Magwe Region government’s budget, forcing other ministries to spend less,” he said. “The Magwe Region Department of Roads is rebuilding the streets of Magwe City at the expense of K4 billion. While this move is a great plan, and we need to execute similar plans throughout all cities in the region, we must keep in line the Department of Road’s budget.”

Daw Khin Cho Latt, (NLD; Magwe 2) said that all departments should submit detailed expense sheets accounting for their financial management so that the lawmakers can examine them.  

U Tin Nwe Oo, Magwe Region Minister for Construction and Transportation, defended his ministry’s spending.

As Magwe City is the capital of the region, in order to have the characteristics appropriate for a regional city, the roads need to be improved as a matter of priority he said.

Yesterday, he also announced a road expansion project, widening the Magwe-Kyauk Padaung portion of the Yangon-Pyay-Mandalay highway. The road is being repaved with asphalt, and will be about 24 feet (7.3m) wide when completed, he said.

Kaung Mon (Magwe) Construction Company Limited is carrying out the project under a Build Operate Transfer contract.

“There were about 500 cars using this road daily, but now, according to official records, the number had risen to 900 to 1000 cars daily, so the road needs to be widened,” said U Tin Win, a project engineer from the construction company.

Initially, a total of 503 trees on the road’s shoulder were going to be cut down, but after the residents objected, the minister intervened and instructed the company not to remove any old trees, and to minimise the number that need to be taken out.

Translated by Win Thaw Tar and Kyaw Soe Htet