The Myanmar Parliament has given its go-ahead to the ambitious Kyaukphyu oil and gas special economic zone project, in which China’s conglomerate CITIC will hold 85 per cent stake with Myanmar state retaining the rest.
CITIC Limited, a Hong Kong listed company, is China’s largest conglomerate engaged in financial services, real estate and infrastructure, engineering contracting, resources and energy and manufacturing, both in China and overseas.
The Kyaukphyu SEZ, requiring an investment of $14 billion, will include a deep sea port, factories, and housing complex, spread over an area of 4,200 acres located in Rakhine state.
Rakine is located west of Myanmar and lies on the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar economic corridor and will enable China access to multiple coastal zones.
Singapore’s CPG Corporation is the consulting firm for the project since September 2014.
The speaker of the lower house of parliament, Thuya Shwe Mann, said, the implementation of the SEZ will be handled by the next government in 2016 including the drawing of the business model.
The approval has drawn lot of reservation and criticism from various quarters particularly with respect to the award of controlling stake to the Chinese firm.
U Hla Maung Thein, chairman of Rakhine Thaharya, an association that helps development of Rakhine State, said he doubts the special economic zone will benefit the state. Taking to the Pyi Myanmar journal, he said it is difficult to understand why the current government is rushing to approve the special economic zone.
Meanwhile, Daw Sandar Min, a member of parliament, said in a report in a state-run newspaper, the SEZ needs to have transparency and be handled by the new government for the benefit of the country. The project is needed not only for the development of the people in Rakhine state but also for the country.