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Week in review: Myanmar

Feb 23. 2016
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By Myanmar Eleven

Skyrocketing inflation

The consumer price index rose 10.97 per cent in January, even higher than the 10.75 per cent year-on-year growth rate in the same period last year, according to the Central Statistical Organisation under the Ministry for National Planning and Economic Development.

The cost of living in Chin State was the highest, with the index rising by 22.02 per cent. It was followed by Kayah State with 17.61 per cent and Rakhine State with 17.05 per cent. The lowest rates were reported in Hpa-An, Dawei and Pyay.

Nissan plant to open this year

Nissan will open a car assembly plant in Myanmar this year, targeting to churn out at least 10,000 vehicles per annum.

The plant in Bago will employ about 300 workers.

Nissan said that it expected demand would increase rapidly due to political and economic changes in the country.

It will assemble Sunny sedans for the domestic market. Nissan is the second automaker to start assembling vechiles in Myanmar after Suzuki.

Trade deficit exceeds US$5bn

The trade deficit set a new record after exceeding US$5 billion for the first time in history. As of February 12, the deficit stood at $5.04 billion, surpassing $4.91 billion reported during the 2014-15 fiscal year.

The 2015-16 fiscal year will end on March 30. Since April 2015, imports were valued at $14.25 billion against $9.21 billion of exports.

Another power project

The Ministry of Electric Power signed a memorandum of understanding with Thu Lay Co Ltd for the development of the 160-megawatt Bawkahta hydropower project.

The project will be developed under a build-operate-transfer system. It will distribute power to Kayin State and Bago Region. In Kayin State, power lines will be installed from Myawaddy to Mawlamyine and Kawkareik. Substations will also be constructed in Myawaddy and Kawkareik.

Yangon railway project

Fifteen local and foreign companies have been shortlisted for the development of the 25-hecate land plot surrounding Yangon Central Railway Station.

According to Myanma Railways, foreign companies represent the US, Italy, France and the UK. A total of 18 local and foreign companies from 14 countries submitted expressions of interest in implementing the project.

The shortlisted companies are Fortune International Group, Capital Diamond Star Group, High Tech Concrete Technology Co Ltd, Min Dhama Company Ltd, Shwe Gon Development Group, a Myanmar-South Korea joint venture, a Myanmar-Singapore joint venture, a Myanmar-US-UK-France-Korea-Vietnam joint venture, China Railways International Group, Excellent Fortune Development Group Co Ltd and Great Genesis Gems Co Ltd (Yaung Investment Group), plus one company each from Italy, Singapore and South Korea and a US-France-Philippines joint venture.

The companies can now buy bid document priced at US$30,000 (Bt1 million). Bids must be submitted before May.

Inle Lake dries up during drought

Rivers to Haeyar and Paypingone villages are almost unusable or dried to a few feet deep.

Residents at the iconic destination said that makeshift preventive measures were holding back a little water, which would disappear when temperatures rose next month.

Villagers said most of the 29 tributaries to Inle had dried up, meaning water was only added to the lake in large quantities during the monsoon season.

Last year’s record-breaking drought destroyed around 32 hectares of farmland and transport.

Message to US, Asean

While attending the US-Asean Summit last week, Vice President Nyan Tun stressed Myanmar’s stance and its implementation of issues such as maritime security, trans-boundary challenges and the fight against terrorism.

$62mn wholesale market project underway

The Golden Dragon Construction and the Myanmar International Cooperation Agency signed a contract for the US$62-million (Bt2.2 billion) Danyingon Wholesale Market project in Yangon.

The project consists of a wholesale market exclusively for meat and two cold storages. It is set for completion in three years.

The Ministry of Livestock, Fishery and Rural Development earlier opened the Kyokone jetty and seafood market.

Public hospitals on heatstroke alert

Public hospitals are prepared for heatstroke patients due to the sudden temperature rise.

Dr Aye Ko Ko, the head of Yangon General Hospital (YGH) said temperatures could be higher than usual due to the El Nino weather pattern.

“Our Department of Medical Care and the Public Health Department under the Ministry of Health will educate the people about preventive measures against the heat,” he said.

YGH has prepped medicines and air-conditioned wards for 50 heatstroke patients at a time. Extra rooms are also available.

The Ministry of Home Affairs also urged all households to beware of fire hazards

Parliamentary committees

Ten parliamentary committees have been formed and three more will be set up. The previous parliament had 23 committees as well as a commission.

The three more committees will be Resources and Environmental Conservation, Transport, Communications and Construction, and Health and Sport Development .

The conservation committee aims to work for the preservation of natural resources and the environment, systematic extraction and ecosystem protection.

MPs asked to free students

MPs have been urged to submit an urgent proposal to Parliament to free the students still in jail after protesting against the National Education Law a year ago, according to Robert San Aung, the accused students’ lawyer.

The leaders of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions (Ba-Ka-Tha), Min Thway Thit, Kyaw Ko Ko, Nanda Sit Aung, Lin Htet Naing and activist Win Kyawt Hmu, appeared at Kamayut court on February 18 to face charges. All of them are facing multiple charges  in Thayarwady in Bago and Yangon regions.

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