Aging infrastructure in need of attention
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
Workers play chinlone next a low-cost housing construction site on the outskirts of Yangon.