The boom in construction has prompted local developers to press for the production of home-grown building materials. They say manufacturing steel and cement here instead of importing them could cut costs and create jobs.
Recent economic reform have made construction sector the most developed sector of the economy, and attracted many foreign developers.
“The construction market will develop further in the future. If we can produce building materials in this country, we will decrease transportation costs and tax on imported products, and create more job opportunities for our citizens,” said U Ye Thu, who owns a household hardware company in Yangon’s Bayintnaung Wholesale Centre.
U Myo Thant, a vice president of business association UMFCCI, said it was time to set up building materials factories.
“The real estate sector is the most developed and the most improved in GDP because of the economic reforms. Cement produced in-country costs much less and is in very short supply. All kinds of building materials are imported from overseas. Why not manufacture them here?” he said.
However, it will be a tall order to begin production of many of the necessary materials just yet.
U Kyaw Kyaw, the owner of an iron and building materials company, said, “Although many local developers like to use domestic iron, it can be hard to find. But imported iron is very widespread.
“Local iron costs K80,000 per tonne less than imported rods, not because of quality, but because of taxes and transportation costs. But we cannot produce enough iron locally,” he said.
Experts say the market offers a great deal of cheap, poor-quality iron imported from China.
“Some people overestimate the quality of imported materials. We need to produce high-quality products here. Perhaps a major foreign building materials brand could invest,” said U Kyaw Kyaw.
Still, investment in Myanmar’s construction materials sector is picking up.
The Thai materials company Siam Cement Group is to build a cement factory in Mon State that is scheduled to open in 2016.
Source: MYANMAR TIMES