Rangoon’s industrial zone management committee announced last week that the divisional government will take back land from owners who have registered more than 4,000 acres in certain specified economic zones in the Rangoon area.
However, a business owner in one Rangoon industrial zone said the government has already made similar announcements three times before without implementing the rules.
“The government has said three times that they would take back non-functioning land, but nothing ever happened because people sent letters of appeal to the relevant parliamentary committees. Many of the letters said, ‘This land is the only asset I own and it’s the only thing I will have for financial support during retirement’,” he said.
The business owner continued, “Most of the idle land is owned by government officials, and that is why any rule that contemplates land seizures will never be enforced. Actually, these lands should have been confiscated around the year 2000.”
Instead of running business enterprises on the land, some individuals who purchased land in Rangoon industrial zones during the previous military regime have chosen to wait for prices to rise and then sell their land, he added.
But the announcement said that landowners can only avoid confiscation if they submit business plans for their idle industrial zone lands and then actually start business operations by 1 February.
Currently, land prices in Rangoon are between 300-500 million kyat (US$300,000 – $500,000) per acre.