Ag­ing in­fras­truc­ture in need of at­ten­tion

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - MYAT NYEIN AYE my­at­nyeinaye@mm­ – Trans­la­tion by Emoon

Gov­ern­ment and pri­vate sec­tor busi­nesses both agree that in or­der to spur eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, de­cay­ing in­fras­truc­ture needs ur­gent at­ten­tion.

THE gov­ern­ment is work­ing through a long list of in­fras­truc­ture needs to de­ter­mine pri­or­i­ties for de­vel­op­ment, the min­is­ter for con­struc­tion told a fo­rum of busi­ness lead­ers in Nay Pyi Taw last week.

Speak­ing at a fo­rum on cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity on Septem­ber 21, con­struc­tion min­is­ter U Win Khaing said that the coun­try’s roads, power con­nec­tiv­ity and even pub­lic hous­ing were in poor shape af­ter years of ne­glect.

“In­fras­truc­ture man­age­ment is an es­sen­tial im­per­a­tive for the de­vel­op­ment of any coun­try,” he said. “The ra­tio of GDP to in­vest­ment in in­fras­truc­ture has been very low,” he added, with­out pro­vid­ing a fig­ure.

Bet­ter-qual­ity roads would mean greater ac­cess to mar­ket, said U Win Khaing, which would help ru­ral ar­eas to de­velop.

“Ba­sic in­fras­truc­ture, like roads, elec­tric­ity, and pub­lic hous­ing are all weak and re­quire de­vel­op­ment,” he said. “Peo­ple are fac­ing many prob­lems.”

Some 70 per­cent of the coun­try lives in ru­ral area, while mil­lions of peo­ple do not have ac­cess to de­cent roads, the min­is­ter said. It was these ar­eas the gov­ern­ment wanted to pri­ori­tise for in­fras­truc­ture de­vel­op­ment, he added.

“We will do as much as we can do for it with the state bud­get,” U Win Khaing said.

Serge Pun, chair of Serge Pun and As­so­ci­ates, said that the pri­vate sec­tor also has a role to play in in­fras­truc­ture de­vel­op­ment projects, but there needs to be a clear gov­ern­ment pol­icy in place in or­der for busi­nesses to be as­sured of their in­vest­ment.

“Ev­ery­one ac­knowl­edges there are im­prove­ments needed in in­fras­truc­ture and there are many de­vel­op­ers will­ing to in­vest,” he said. “The gov­ern­ment needs to de­velop a spe­cific pol­icy for in­fras­truc­ture.”

In­fras­truc­ture de­vel­op­ment was nec­es­sary to spur eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity in ru­ral ar­eas, said U Than Aung Kyaw, a spokesper­son at the Direc­torate of In­vest­ment and Com­pany Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“It is im­por­tant that we de­vel­op­ment in an in­clu­sive and equal way, across the en­tire coun­try,” he said.

Proper gov­ern­ment plan­ning with sta­ble in­fras­truc­ture de­vel­op­ment would lead to in­creased trade and can boost in­vest­ment in Myan­mar’s ru­ral ar­eas, said U Than Aung Kyaw.

‘In­fras­truc­ture man­age­ment is an es­sen­tial im­per­a­tive for the de­vel­op­ment of any coun­try.’

U Win Khaing Con­struc­tion min­istry

Photo: AFP

Work­ers play chin­lone next a low-cost hous­ing con­struc­tion site on the out­skirts of Yan­gon.

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