All of the projects under a poverty-reduction development loan from Japan International Cooperation Agency are set to be completed by June 2017, the Japanese government aid agency says.
The deal for the Overseas Direct Aid (ODA) loan was inked in 2013, with the first round of projects commencing in 2014.
The long-term, low-interest projects aim to boost infrastructural development such as roads, electricity and water supply. In its first phase, projects were rolled out across all 14 states and regions.
The 17 billion yen (over US$150 million) loan was divided across target sectors with 8 billion yen for roads and bridges, 4.3b for electricity supply, 2b for water supply, 1b for consultant services and 0.6b for additional discretionary spending.
“The purpose [of JICA’s first phase of ODA loans] was to improve the living standards of people in states and regions by constructing and rehabilitating key infrastructure that were urgently needed, thereby contributing to development and [alleviating] poverty in regional areas,” said Daw Mai Thawtar Min, secretary of Phase 1 projects at JICA.
Once the Phase 1 projects are complete, a new JICA loan of 14 billion yen (around $123 million) is on the table. However, this is the subject of ongoing discussions between the government and JICA.
There have been 15 road and bridge projects in Yangon, Ayeyarwady, Magwe, Bago, Sagaing and Mandalay regions and in Mon, Kayah, Rakhine, Shan and Chin states.
Among these 15 road projects, two projects in Yangon and one project in Ayeyarwady have been completed, but the remainder have yet to be finished.
In terms of project implementation, the Ministry of Construction has taken the lead for management and has enlisted local contractors for construction works.
“Whichever ministry and local contractors implement the projects, JICA consultants have to take care of them until the project is finished,” said Daw Mai Thawtar Min.