Chairman of the Myanmar Special Economic Zones Central Committee (MSEZCC) Vice President U Henry Van Thio addressed the coordination meeting 1/2019 of MSEZCC held at the Ministry of Commerce meeting hall in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday afternoon.
The meeting was attended by Union Ministers Lt-Gen Kyaw Swe, U Kyaw Tint Swe, U Thant Sin Maung, U Ohn Win, U Win Khaing, U Thein Swe, U Khin Maung Cho, Dr. Than Myint and U Han Zaw, Union Attorney General U Tun Tun Oo, Region Chief Ministers Dr. Lei Lei Maw and U Phyo Min Thein, Deputy Ministers U Aung Htoo and U Set Aung, chairmen and vice chairmen of Thilawa SEZ, Kyaukphyu SEZ and Dawei SEZ management committees and officials.
At the meeting the Vice President said SEZs played an important role in the country’s economic development and concerted efforts were being made towards successful implementation of SEZs.
Of the three SEZs under implementation, Thilawa SEZ can be said of having reached a certain level. A total of 105 companies had investments and the investments had increased to US$ 1.6 billion. A total of 65 factories were in operation now.
Looking at Kyaukphyu SEZ, the Framework Agreement was signed with CITIC Group Company that had won the project tender and discussions and negotiations were learnt to be continuing on the matter of Transaction Documents, EIA, SIA and G.T surveys for deep sea port project. All were urged to conduct towards a timely progress so that project works were not delayed. As Kyaukphyu SEZ was linked to geopolitics, discussions and coordination were to be conducted thoroughly.
Progress and implementation of Dawei SEZ was seen to be slow and weak. Draft Terms of Reference (TOR) between NEDA of Thailand and Ministry of Construction was coordinated for a two-lane motor vehicle road connecting Dawei SEZand Htikee and it has been learnt that site visits had been conducted. Progress was slow in continuing preliminary projects.
Negotiations and discussions on Dawei SEZ were being done through government to government and with ITD. There should be open and transparent discussions by the Management Committee on preliminary legal study and assessment and future programs.
Myanmar-Thailand-Japan tripartite coordination was required for the slow progress of preliminary projects. Coordination was required to hold Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) meeting on Dawei SEZ. Efforts must be made towards effective progress of SEZs. Emphasis must be placed towards making the role of Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) formed for Dawei SEZ projects more active and alive. Discussions were invited on ways and means of starting the main project.
SEZs were very important for a country’s economic development and were also an opportunity to create jobs for local people. Systematic efforts were to be made towards successful implementation of SEZs under implementation. Foreign investors were required to invest with trust and confidence. Ministerial departments were to coordinate in providing services in accordance with the law and international norms for investors. Only then would foreign investors invest. Meeting attendees were urged to discuss openly and transparently for economic development and for the benefit of the people and the country, said the Vice President.
Next, Central Committee Vice Chairman Union Minister U Kyaw Tint Swe suggested and discussed about Thilawa, Kyaukphyu and Dawei SEZs while Central Committee secretary Union Minister Dr. Than Myint explained about decisions to be made by the Central Committee and future work programs and Central Committee joint secretary Deputy Minister U Aung Htoo explained about decisions made at work coordination meeting 1/2018 and status of implementation.
Afterwards Thilawa SEZ management committee chairman Deputy Minister U Set Aung, Dawei SEZ management committee vice chairman Dr. Myint Hsan and Ministry of Commerce Union Minister’s Office Director General U Aung Soe provided sector wise explanation about works conducted, ongoing and future works of Thilawa, Dawei and Kyaukphyu SEZs.
Union Minister U Han Zaw, U Thant Sin Maung, U Ohn Win, U Win Khaing, U Thein Swe and Dr. Than Myint, Union Attorney General U Tun Tun Oo, Region Chief Ministers Dr. Lei Lei Maw and U Phyo Min Thein and Deputy Minister U Set Aung also discussed about Thilawa, Dawei and Kyaukphyu SEZs.
MSEZCC Chairman Vice President U Henry Van Thio then said implementation of SEZs needed to be conducted with a holistic view and well- coordinated. Negotiations on ongoing SEZs needed to achieve fair results for both sides. Laws and rule needed to be up to international norms and standards to successfully implement SEZs and changes were to be made where required.
Land matters and other matters submitted were to be coordinated with the Yangon Region government for resolution. Thilawa SEZ was a model for all SEZs and the systems practiced there need to be continuously studied and changed towards achieving international standards. In the same way, one stop service matters need to be coordinated with the participation of relevant ministries.
For ongoing discussions and negotiations on Kyaukphyu SEZ and deep sea port project to complete in a timely manner, relevant departments need to coordinate for the benefit of the country in accordance with legal norms and procedures. Kyaukphyu project was related to One Belt One Road project of the People’s Republic of China which required works to be conducted in a set time frame.
On Dawei SEZ, Joint Higher Committee (JHC) meetings were to be conducted if required based on the outcome of the Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) meetings.
The Ministry of Construction was to set up a time frame on the project to upgrade the Dawei-Htikee two-lane road.
While conducting discussion and negotiations, if there were matters requiring policy decisions, not to wait for the central committee meeting and submit the matter direct to the central committee chairman in a timely manner so that decisions could be obtained, said the Vice President.
The meeting came to a close after the Vice President’s concluding remarks in which he stressed the need to achieve progress in implementation of SEZs within the government’s terms so that people obtain practical benefits and their expectations were kept alive.