Ja­panese aid pack­age gets started with 3 projects

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - MYAT NYEIN AYE my­at­nyeinaye@mm­times.com

Work has be­gun on three ini­tia­tives – a bridge and two wa­ter sup­ply projects – that will be fi­nanced by the $7.7 bil­lion pack­age re­cently an­nounced by Ja­pan’s Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe.

THREE projects funded by part of a re­cently an­nounced US$7.7 bil­lion Ja­panese aid pack­age are un­der way, according to the Ja­panese In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion In­sti­tute (JICA).

Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe an­nounced ear­lier this month that his coun­try would pro­vide 800 bil­lion yen in aid, loans and in­vest­ment to pro­mote de­vel­op­ment and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion in Myan­mar.

It is not clear how much of the $7.7 bil­lion, to be spread over five years, will con­sist of ODA loans, but JICA will man­age the ma­jor­ity of the ODA com­po­nent, said Kei­ichiro Nakazawa, the agency’s chief rep­re­sen­ta­tive in Myan­mar.

JICA has not yet de­cided on all the projects it will fund through the ODA sec­tion, but so far this year work has be­gun on three projects – a bridge and two wa­ter sup­ply projects – that will fi­nanced by the $7.7bil­lion pack­age, he said.

The bridge will con­nect Yan­gon and Than­lyin over the Bago River. JICA will man­age the project, which will have a bud­get of $280 mil­lion, said Mr Nakazawa dur­ing a me­dia tour last week.

The in­ter­est on the loan for that project equates to 0.01 per­cent for 40 years, he said, al­though the loan must be paid back af­ter 11 years.

The ex­ist­ing Than­lyin Bridge has only sin­gle lanes in ei­ther di­rec­tion, which leads to traf­fic prob­lems for ve­hi­cles try­ing to cross to Than­lyin town­ship or Thi­lawa spe­cial eco­nomic zone, Mr Nakazawa said. Yan­gon Re­gion Min­is­ter for Trans­porta­tion Daw Ni­lar Kyaw said in July that the govern­ment planned to build a new bridge to re­solve traf­fic prob­lems on the ex­ist­ing route.

JICA has fin­ished a de­tailed de­sign plan for the new bridge and hopes to start con­struc­tion in the 2017-18 fi­nan­cial year, according to JICA. The agency is in the process of call­ing a ten­der for the project in order to select a com­pany.

“JICA will call a ten­der to select a pri­vate com­pany for con­struc­tion then we will con­tract with the se­lected com­pany,” said Mr Nakazawa, adding that JICA would pay 15pc of the con­tract fee up­front for con­struc­tion ma­te­ri­als. The rest of the funds will be paid out in in­stal­ments as con­struc­tion pro­ceeds, he said.

The $280 mil­lion bud­get is a hard limit, but the ten­der process could end with a lower cost, he added.

JICA also has two wa­ter sup­ply projects: the La­gun­pyin wa­ter sup­ply project in South Dagon town­ship will dis­trib­ute wa­ter across Yan­gon, and con­struc­tion is sched­uled to start in June next year, according to JICA.

An­other wa­ter sup­ply project in Kokkowa on the far side of the Hlaing River will also pro­vide wa­ter for the com­mer­cial cap­i­tal, with a loan agree­ment ex­pected this fi­nan­cial year, according to JICA.

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