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Parliament opposition leaves two more flyovers in doubt

Two expensive flyovers budgeted for Yangon should be scrappedamid criticism over the portion of public funding dedicated to the projects, a parliamentary committee said yesterday.

The outgoing region government earmarked K32.2 billion (US$26.1 million) forthe bridges, slated for the junction of Kabar Aye Pagoda and Parami roads, and North Okkalapa junction.

But yesterday the parliamentary Finance, Planning and Economic Committee said the incoming National League for Democracy-led government should review and possibly cancel the two projects.

“The committee would like to revise the budgets of the two flyovers and the related ministry must conduct a review with our advice,” said Daw Sandar Min, chair of the committee and an MP for Seikgyi Khanaungto township. She added that a report submitted to Yangon parliament yesterday encouraged MPs to scrutinise whether the expenditure is merited and whether the projects will really improve the city’s entrenched traffic problems.

The flyover funding represents nearly 10 percent of the total Yangon Region 2016-17 budget of K336.21157 billion and 75 percent of capital expenditures.

Previous flyover projects have been controversial, with some hluttaw representatives questioning whether the benefits were worth the high cost. Yangon Mayor U Hla Myint said last year that no more should be built because they are expensive and have little long-term impact on traffic flows.

Daw Sandar Min said the proposed flyovers will be thoroughly investigatedand cancelled if they will not substantially improve the city’s gridlock congestion. The NLD has made it clear they retain the right to call off any projects approved by the last government but not yet implemented.

U Kyaw Zeya, secretary of the parliamentary committee and an MP for Dagon township, suggested yesterday that the budget for the flyovers should be re-allocated for building roads in townships with poor accessibility.

“If we look at the capital expenditures, the money is mostly used to build flyovers instead of in important sectors benefiting the people,” he said.

Union Solidarity and Development Party MP U Tin Win told The Myanmar Times that reallocating the budget is a prerogative of the next government.

“The outgoing government created a proposal for the next government to use when their term started. And we undertook this activity with the people in mind,” he said.

Previous flyover projects in Yangon – including at Hledan, Bayintnaung, Shwegonedaing and Myaynigone junctions – have been slammed for being commissioned and approved with a lack of transparency.

The Finance, Planning and Economic Committee’s report also found that Yangon City Development Committee accounts for 65 percent of the region government’s expenditure, taking a K220.4 billion chunk of the budget.

The committee’s report about the Yangon Region budget will be discussed in parliament on March 24.

 

Source: Myanmar Times

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