Wed 29 Aug 2012
Filed under: Business / Trade,Inside Burma,International,News,Regional
The Asian Development Bank has advised the Thai government to invest in transport and infrastructure development in Myanmar to make international investors and financiers feel more comfortable about taking part in the massive Dawei project.
Craig Steffensen, the ADB’s Thailand country director, yesterday said in addition to the motorway planned between Nonthaburi’s Bang Yai district and Kanchanaburi province, the Thai government should look at running a road or railway across the border to improve access to Dawei.
“It doesn’t need to be a massive investment, just an initial amount that can get the Dawei project off the ground,” he said.
He was speaking at the Thailand Focus 2012 forum being held at the Four Seasons Hotel on Ratchadamri Road.
The ADB has provided technical assistance for the public-private partnership overseeing the Bang Yai-Kanchanaburi route.
The Highways Department has already started work on the planned 45.9-billion-baht, 98-kilometre motorway from Bang Yai to Kanchanaburi.
Another 70-km section leading to the Phu Namron border checkpoint is now under a feasibility study, while design work has been completed on the final 160-km route from Phu Namron to Dawei.
The main problem regarding Dawei is it needs a massive injection of US$8 billion for Phase 1 development and $50 billion for the entire project, though these funds are still unaccounted for, said Mr Steffensen.
He said the ADB is keen on seeing the project succeed, as it will benefit Thailand, Myanmar and Asean as a whole.
While the ADB has been in discussions with Italian-Thai Development Plc, the Dawei project’s developer, the Thai contractor has not made an official request for any loans from the bank.
The Dawei project is expected to create 5,000 jobs for Myanmar.
Mr Steffensen said power shortages remain a big problem for Myanmar, one that has obstructed private investment to surge in the impoverished neighbouring country. Education and human resource are other areas requiring further attention along with financial and other reforms that are now taking place in Myanmar, he said.