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Ayeyarwaddy Should Be ‘Secondary Hub’ to Foster Economic Growth Beyond Cities – Industrial Zone Chairman

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The Ayeyarwaddy Region has the po­tential to become a “secondary growth hub” for Myanmar thanks to its proximity to Yangon, its ability to host a deep sea port, and its relatively low land and labour costs, a meeting of investors or­ganized by the the Thai Business Association of Myanmar heard.

U Ye Min Aung, the chairman of the Ayeyar­waddy Public Develop­ment Company, told an audience that he hoped his company would help turn the rice growing re­gion into the “food bas­ket” of Myanmar with agricultural businesses processing fish, vegeta­bles and other products.

He praised Thailand’s success in turning its cui­sine into a global export and said Myanmar should emulate its neighbor in this field.

Ayeyarwaddy produces thirty percent of Myan­mar’s rice, but decades of underinvestment mean the area is struggling to introduce machine farm­ing techniques that boost productivity, even as many in the labour force migrate to urban areas in search of better paid jobs.

The region also has po­tential to expand services for offshore exploration as it acts as a “logistical hub” for oil and compa­nies looking to exploit reserves off of Myanmar’s coastlines, said U Ye Min Aung, who is also Vice President of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, or UMF­CCI.

The Ayeyarwaddy Pub­lic Development Compa­ny is building an industri­al zone in Pathein, about five hours west of Yangon, that will cover 2,700 acres and be powered by its own 120 megawatt station.

The K83 billion Pathein Industrial City project be­gan late last year and is due to be complete within two years, according to the company. The project hopes to accommodate agri machine companies, marine farms, garment factories, logistics compa­nies and warehouses.

The region’s largely un­skilled population of 6.5 million would need train­ing to offer incoming in­vestors the skilled labour they need, he said, adding that his company is con­ducting vocational train­ing for electricians, ma­sons, and plumbers with the help of foreign firms.

The success of industrial projects in the delta area will hinge largely on the quality of infrastructure. U Ye Min Aung said the Pathein project will aim to join the national grid in the medium to long term but will run on its own power supply in the short to medium term in order to offer a more reliable supply.

A new road between Pathein and Yangon is in the works to reduce travel times, and consultants are now looking at Pathein’s port to see if it can be modified to accommodate larger vessels. A deep sea port in the region would have fewer physical limi­tations than those of Yan­gon or the Thilawa Special Economic Zone, he said.

 

Source: Myanmar Business Today

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