The Pyidaugnsu Hluttaw has given the go-ahead to a US$138 million loan from South Korea to build a bridge between Yangon and Dala – a project that will cost nearly $170 million.
The $137.8 million loan from South Korea’s Economic Development Cooperation Fund, which will go to Myanmar’s Ministry of Construction, gained approval on May 28 when four members of parliament seconded the motion and none moved against it. The terms of the 40-year loan include a 15-year deferment period and an interest rate set at 0.01 percent, as well as a service fee at 0.1pc of the loan.
Myanmar will contribute the remaining $30.3 million necessary to complete the project.
Support for the loan came from MPs eager to see development in Dala township and other areas across the river from downtown Yangon, such as Ayeyarwady Region.
U Khin Shwe from Yangon Region’s No 9 constituency said he backed the loan because it would help develop Twante, Kawhmu and Kungyangone townships along with Dala – which, facing water scarcity issues, could benefit in particular from the project if it incorporates water supply piping.
The Ministry of Construction and South Korea have decided the project’s primary construction duties will be carried out by Korean technicians, although the work will also employ Myanmar workers and experts, Deputy Minister for Construction U Soe Tint said at the Hluttaw meeting.
However, Pyithu Hluttaw representative U Thein Swe for Ann township in Rakhine State said that the government needs to reconsider the plan, suggesting the sole use of Korean workers.
U Thein Swe added that the government should negotiate both the prices for construction materials, and to reduce the project’s timeline, as currently plans indicate a five-year timeframe.
The ministry will try to get construction materials at international-standard prices and to build as quickly as possible, he said.
“We can gain social, economic and technological benefits from the project,” U Soe Tint said. “It is a suspension bridge, so Myanmar can get more technological knowledge from [the Korean workers]. We will carry out it by listening to the people’s voice.”
The bridge – whose design plan has yet to be finalised – will be 49 metres (160 feet) high and 251 meter (823ft) wide. With Myanmar’s highest clearance, the structure will allow for vessels carrying 15,000 tonnes to move freely beneath the bridge.
Source: Myanmar Times