Chinese firm finalises new Yangon city proposal

Photo A “town hall meeting” is held in Yangon to respond to questions surrounding the proposed new city project earlier this year. Photo - Supplied

26 Nov 18 - Source: Myanmar Times - The government body in charge of developing an ambitious new Yangon city project has reached the final stage in negotiations with China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) in preparing pre-project documents (PPD).

Launched by the regional government in March via a 100pc government-owned New Yangon Development Co (NYDC), the new city project covers an area twice the size of Singapore with a target of US$1.5 billion (K2.83 trillion) investment for the first phase.

Serge Pun, vice chair and chief executive of NYDC, announced on the website that the proposal is close to be finalised and he "hopes the details of the PPD can be disclosed soon to the public and for PPD to be quickly completed for NYDC Challenge to begin." The "Challenge" refers to a challenge mechanism: Once the proposal is finalised, NYDC will disclose the documents to the public and call a tender. If a company is able to challenge CCCC with a lower bid to build the infrastructure, it will be selected instead but will need to pay CCCC for the costs incurred.

NYDC in May signed an agreement with CCCC to prepare a detailed infrastructure proposal and was criticised for doing so without calling a tender. The body said this was to "avoid wasting time" and would undertake a "Swiss challenge" (aka NYDC challenge) instead. CCCC, a China state-owned company headquartered in Beijing and listed in Hong Kong, was sanctioned by the World Bank under its fraud and corruption policy from January 2009 until January 2017.

A meeting was held last Wednesday with the Yangon regional government, led by Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein, to present the specifications of the PPD.

The PPD will define the scope of nine projects: a six-lane bridge spanning the Hlaing River from Kyeemyindine Kannar Road near Bargaya Road to the New Yangon City (NYC); a two-lane bridge spanning the Pan Hlaing River alongside the existing Pan Hlaing River Bridge; 26km of artery roads linking the major nodes of the new city; basic infrastructure and utilities for the five new "Resettlement Village Towns"; infrastructure for the first 10 square kilometre sof an industrial zone; a water-treatment plant serving the new city; a wastewater-treatment plant; a water intake facility near the Toe River and a water main distribution line; and power distribution and transmission facilities.

Moreover, construction of a site office for the new city is expected to complete by January next year, with a team in charge of handling grievance and complaints.

In September's Euromoney conference, Mr Pun defended the approach and said that the total value of the NYDC's land is worth $150 million, while $1.5 billion is needed to build the infrastructure. Hence the challenge is to secure the investment necessary for the infrastructure without taking on any debt.

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