ADB signs deal to develop electricity in Burma
A signing ceremony on a US$60m loan agreement pledged by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for electricity development in Burma was held at the Electric Power Ministry in Naypyidaw on Monday, according to a ministry official. It has been announced the loan will be spent on upgrading power substations, replacing existing distribution lines and transformers, instalment of digital revenue meters, and replacing tangled knots of existing bare low voltage distribution lines with more efficient aerial-bundled conductor lines in Rangoon, Mandalay, Sagaing and Magwe Divisions. The project is aiming to reduce distribution loss by four percentage points.
Burma to export rice to Philippines
Burma has signed an MoU with the Philippines for the export of 500,000 tons of rice, according to the Myanmar Rice Federation. The planned export of Palethwe rice to the Philippines is part of a food security agreement reached during President Thein Sein’s trip to Manila in December 2013.
Yadanapon promises 1,500-kyat SIM cards
Burmese domestic telecommunications firm Yadanapon Teleport is looking to distribute mobile phone SIM cards at 1,500 kyat (US$1.50) each beginning in August. Board member Shein Thu Aung said the company, now reconstituted as a public holding, is in the process of attracting foreign bidders to establish a network by August and plan promotions for calls, SMSs and SIM cards.
South Koreans dropped from Hantharwaddy Airport project
Burma’s aviation authorities have dropped a plan to undertake construction of the Hantharwaddy International Airport with a South Korean company led by Incheon International Airport Corp, following unsuccessful negotiations over airport capacity. Burma’s DCA says it is now considering a backup tender bidder, possibly a Singapore-Japan joint-venture, Yongnam-Cape-JEC Consortium.
India cements ties with Burma
A lull in domestic demand has led several Indian cement producers to ramp up exports to Burma, industry news site Cementworld reported Tuesday. Tamil Nadu-based Dalmia Bharat Cement Ltd began shipping approximately 10,000- 12,000 tons to Burma in January 2014, while Ramco Cements Ltd, also based in Tamil Nadu, has shipped about 40,000 tons of cement to Burma to date. Several other companies including India Cements Ltd and Chettinad Cement Corporation Ltd are also “testing the market” in Burma, said the report.
Indonesian tin miners ready to explore Burma
Indonesian tin mining firm PT Timah has announced it will begin tin ore exploration in Burma in June. Timah, in which the state has a majority holding, has secured a 10,000-hectare tin concession area in Pubyien-Tamok in Tenasserim Division, estimated to have around 10,000 tons of tin reserves. Timah president director Sukrisno said on Tuesday that the firm had also submitted mining applications for other areas of Burma and was hoping to obtain permits this year.
German President to attend business forum in Rangoon
German Federal President Joachim Gauck will pay a first ever official visit to Burma next week at the invitation of his counterpart Thein Sein, said an official announcement on Thursday. Gauck is expected to arrive in Rangoon on 11 February to attend the first ever Myanmar-Germany Business Forum which will begin a day ahead of his arrival, sources said.
Rangoon skytrain on track for 2025 completion
Implementation planning is underway for 10 km of subway and elevated train systems in Rangoon, said Railway Transportation Minister Than Htay. Assisted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the Rangoon regional government hopes to complete the project by 2025. The Japanese government has been instrumental in upgrading Burma’s transit systems, having previously granted the ministry a loan for renovation of the dilapidated Rangoon– Mandalay railway.
US bank offers credit incentives on Burmese trade
The US Export-Import Bank on Thursday began to offer credit for trade with Burma, AFP reported. Officials said they hoped to boost US exports and jobs by providing similar terms as credit agencies from European and Asian nations, whose governments have gone even further in ending barriers to trade with the once pariah state. Effective immediately, US exporters can turn to the Export-Import Bank to seek credit insurance on their products, direct loans or loan guarantees.
Bitter aftertaste for sugarcane farmers in Naypyidaw
Sugarcane farmers in Naypyidaw’s Lewe Township say they face substantial losses in a local venture with a military-owned sugar refinery that is losing business and cancelling orders with them. The farmers say that sugar refinery firm Taung Sin Aye, a subsidiary of Myanmar Economic Corporation, has been processing about 33 percent less sugarcane than usual due to outdated machinery, and has subsequently cancelled orders for sugarcane from the local farmers.