Govt eyes public-private deal to upgrade highway
The government plans to work with the private sector under a publicprivate partnership to upgrade the Yangon-nay Pyi Taw-mandalay Highway, which is used by 16 million motorists annually.
THE government is planning to work with the private sector under a public-private partnership (PPP) to upgrade the Yangon-nay Pyi TawMandalay Highway, which is used by 16 million travelers annually, said U Kyaw Lin, Deputy Minister of Construction.
“We are discussing options such as applying for foreign loans as well as working together with the private sector under a PPP arrangement, where both foreign and state funds will be involved,” U Kyaw Lin said in parliament Thursday.
Due to the lack of modern safety features, the highway, which has been in use since 2009, has been the site of numerous accidents and deaths over the years, leading to harsh public criticism by the public even during the former president U Thein Sein’s administration.
But although there were intentions to upgrade the highway, actual implementation has lagged due to a shortage of funds under the national budget. Since 2015, foreign and local companies have been invited to tender for the PPP. A total of 126 companies tendered, of which 26 were selected for consideration on May 2015, said U Win Pe, Director General of Road Department.
However, the process was put on hold when the current govern- ment took office, as any work on the high way would require travelers to pay toll charges and other road usage fees. Now though, the project has been brought back into focus, U Kyaw Lin said.
In the meantime, tarring work on the 366-mile highway will continue using funds provided by the Asia Development Bank. Around $80 million worth of tarring work on the highway will be carried between 2016 and 2020, said U Kyaw Lin.