Govt eyes pub­lic-pri­vate deal to up­grade high­way

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Front Page - HTOO THANT thanhtoo@mm­times.com

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.

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