The government yesterday dismissed media reports that Myanmar President Thein Sein has asked to scale down the size of its deep-sea port and industrial estate in Dawei.

Thailand is Myanmar’s investment partner in the enterprise.

PM’s Office Minister Niwatthamrong Bunsongphaisan, in his capacity as chairman of the Thai-Myanmar committee coordinating the Dawei special economic zone development, said reports saying that Myanmar’s president had requested downsizing the project were incorrect.

It had been reported previously by the Thai media that Thein Sein made the request during his latest meeting with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Currently, the project is planned to cover an entire area of 204.5 square kilometres.

“President Thein Sein was not the one who made the request, but two Myanmar members of the committee did,” Mr Niwatthamrong said.

He insisted it would be impossible to consider downsizing the project at this point because the scale of the project has been taken into consideration in the assessment to determine whether the project is worth investing in.

“We have reached a clear agreement to not reduce the size of the project’s area,” he said, adding that it would be worth investing if the entire area of project could be utilised as planned.

On Tuesday, Transport Minister Chadchat Sittipunt said Myanmar had revealed during Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s trip to Dawei on Monday that it wanted to reduce the size of the deep-sea port and the industrial estate from 204.5 sq km to 150 sq km.

A reduction in the scale of the project is expected to affect Italian-Thai Development Plc, which is a major contractor in the project.

As for the plan to set up a consortium to handle the investment in the Dawei project, Mr Niwatthamrong said the issue is expected to be concluded in March next year.

Link: http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/327206/