RANGOON — The developers for a massive trading hub planned in western Burma’s Arakan State will be selected by December, according to an official.
International companies can register their interest in building the infrastructure for the Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone (SEZ) from next week, and a competitive tendering process will follow, said Railway Minister Myint Thein, who is also the deputy chair of the government committee managing the project.
“This phase is to seek developers for port, industrial and residential building projects. We are looking for three developers for those three projects. We’ll accept [expression of interest] applications beginning on the 14th of this month, and we’ll make the final list by December,” the minister said at a promotional “road show” for the project in Rangoon on Thursday.
The selected developers will then have to submit detailed work plans to the committee early next year, and be prepared to begin work in March 2015, he added. Another road show event is taking place in Singapore on Monday to provide information about the project to potential developers.
In March, the government named a consortium led by Singapore-based firm CPG as the winner of the US$2.5 million consulting contract for the project, one of three planned SEZs that Burma hopes will drive economic growth and provide jobs. The Kyaukphyu SEZ is planned for the island in Arakan State that is also the terminus of Chinese-built cross-country oil and gas pipelines, and officials have expressed hopes that the developments will transform the impoverished coastal region.
Myint Thein said the SEZ would initially cover 1,000 acres of land and would later expand to 4,000 acres.
Aung Kyaw Than, secretary of Kyaukphyu SEZ tender invitation and selection board, said expressions of interest must be submitted before Aug. 14. “Then, we’ll sort out the best four or five developers and ask them to present details, and we’ll select the best ones,” he said.
While the tight deadlines signal the Burmese government’s desire to get the Kyaukphyu project underway swiftly, the Japan-backed SEZ at Thilawa, near Rangoon, has gathered the greatest momentum among the country’s industrial zone plans. However, long-standing plans to develop an industrial hub in Dawei, Tenasserim Division, have stalled, with the Thai developer initially selected for the project no longer in charge of the development.