Investment Opportunities Emerge in Kanyin Chaung Economic Zone

Investment opportunities in Rakhine State are emerging as the government ups efforts to establish a functioning economy that will create jobs and encourage stability in the region.

This month, local private sector experts and businessmen were invited to a briefing promoting investments in Rakhine. Selected sectors of the economy will be prioritised under a five-year plan established by the Rakhine State government, U Kyaw Aye Thein, Rakhine State Minister for Planning and Finance, told The Myanmar Times.

The sectors include agriculture, fisheries, livestock breeding, forestry and tourism. Support will also be given to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the state. Kyaukphyu, Yanbye and Manaung were pinpointed as promising areas for the cultivation of crops such as ginger, coconuts and bananas.

Investors were particularly interested in the Kanyin Chaung economic zone, which is being developed by the Maungtaw Border Merchant Association together with the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI).

Located about two miles from Maungdaw, the Kanyin Chaung economic zone, is currently being developed across 100 acres of land. Construction of the economic zone actually began in November 2015, but is now being accelerated under efforts to build up the Rakhine economy.

On October 30, the Maungdaw government and NAAF Galaxy signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly develop parts of Kanyin Chaung economic zone, Aung Myint Thein, chairman of the Maungdaw border traders association and secretary of the  Kanyin Chaung trade zone implementing committee, was quoted by local media as saying.

The three local companies are Khin Aye Myat Phyu and Family Aye Chan from Maungdaw and Oakka Zwe from Buthidaung.

Meanwhile, committees have been formed under the Union Enterprise for Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement and Development in Rakhine (UEHRD) to undertake tasks such as developing and creating jobs in the agriculture, healthcare and tourism sectors, said U Aung Kyi Soe, General-Secretary of UMFCCI.

Business opportunities

When complete, the Kanyin Chaung economic zone is expected to substantially boost trade between Myanmar and Bangladesh via Rakhine. The state’s top exports include marine products, rice as well as ginger and coconuts.

“The Maungdaw region alone produces at least 450 tonnes of prawns and the northern region of Rakhine produces 900 tonnes of prawns. These are exported to Bangladesh, which, in turn, exports it to Singapore,” said U Aung Myint Thein.

He added that potential investment opportunities include the construction of warehouses and cold storage facilities in Kanyin Chaung, as well as textile factories, which will create jobs and lower the unemployment rate among women.

The economic zone also has its own port, which, when fully constructed, will have the capacity to handle 300 tonnes of seaborne cargo. “We need to think about what we can export back when ships carrying imports arrive in Maungdaw,” said U Kyaw Thu, secretary of Myanmar Agricultural Production and Trade Association.

He added that this will likely include coconuts, bananas as well as raw ginger, which are Rakhine’s top exports to Bangladesh. “As ginger has a shelf life of 8 months, if we can create facilities for turning ginger into higher end products, we can get better income,” he said.

Last month, the Myanmar Rice Federation also launched projects to develop the rice sector in Rakhine. It will provide the necessary machinery such as tractors and grain dryers as well as supply fertisliser at bargain prices to facilitate harvesting. To add more value to rice harvests, the MRF will also help local farmers obtain local and international loans, it said.

Meanwhile, efforts to supply Rakhine with basic infrastructure needed to draw investments appear to be progressing. On November 2,  two sub-stations that will provide electricity to about 50 townships in Rakhine State officially opened in Pauktaw and Myebon townships, according to the Ministry of Information.
The sub-station in Pauktaw Township was completed in March 2016 and has been supplying 24-hour electricity to 976 households since last month. It can supply electricity to an additional 30 townships nearby, according to Rakhine State’s electricity department.
The power station in Myebon township has already been providing electricity to more than a thousand households since March. It can supply electricity to an additional 20 neighbouring townships.

Meanwhile, some K2.2 billion in state and private investments is now being considered for developing basic infrastructure at Kanyin Chaung, including a 2.5-kilometre road, police and fire station and rest houses for workers.

A separate agreement to construct a road connecting Rakhine and Ayeyarwady Region has also been signed by both governments to raise the potential for economic development.

 

Source: The Myanmar Times

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