Week in Review: NLD to focus on COVID-hit economy

U Myo Nyunt, a member of the NLD central executive committee, said that during its second term in office the government will focus on economy, social matters, education and health, which have been badly affected by COVID-19.

U Zaw Pe Win, an economist, said the new government must come up with a programme similar to the current COVID-19 Economic Relief Plan.

He said the government helped the hotels and tourism industry by providing tax relief and soft loans. But these were on the supply side, and there is no action on the demand side yet.

The government should focus on exports, especially those that generate foreign currency, such as trade with neighbouring India and China, said U Zaw Pe Win.

During the election campaign, the NLD outlined eight economic goals, including developing an innovative sustainable market economy, boosting human resources capacity through public-private partnerships, and promoting small and medium enterprises.

New transport system for freight

Transportation of goods within ASEAN will be more competitive under a new regional multimodal system, said U Than Win Aung, joint secretary of the Myanmar International Freight Forwarders Association.

A framework for a multimodal transport system in ASEAN is being drawn up. Thailand and the Philippines have stipulated laws, while Myanmar has completed a draft. Others, like Cambodia, have yet to begin the process, he said.

The system involves a combination of two or more different modes of moving cargo under a single bill of lading, with the carrier fully liable for the entire carriage, whether by air, rail, road or sea.

The system would benefit big logistics businesses and is expected to facilitate cross-border trade between ASEAN members.

Benefits include higher trade volume and smoother flow of authorised goods through the region.

In addition, under the ASEAN Economic Community, goods will be allowed to pass tax-free through the region without restriction.

Myanmar enacted the Multimodal Transport Law in 2014, but the rules have yet to be released.

Huge cost for elevated expressway

Phase one of the Yangon Elevated Expressway Project will cost around US$800 million, according to U Han Zaw, minister of Construction.

Phase one of the project will be 27.5 kilometres long, including a 19km four-lane road and a 2.5km two-lane road to Yangon International Airport.

The expressway would reduce traffic jams in Yangon, improve living standards and create new business opportunities, said deputy minister U Kyaw Lin.

Proposals for the project were first canvassed in May 2018, and 53 companies expressed interest.

Twelve consortium groups submitted proposals in November 2018. Ten companies that met the criteria as prequalified bidders were announced in December 2018.

The project is being carried out by the Ministry of Construction and Yangon Region government as a public-private partnership with the winning bidder.

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