Myanmar will start construction work to set up an economic zone in Rakhain targeting trade with Bangladesh.
The Maungdaw economic zone, located in Kanyin Chaung, will commence its construction within this fiscal year when the region has stabilised, state minister for finance, revenue, economics and planning U Kyaw Aye Thein told The Myanmar Times.
This economic zone is not to be confused with the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in the country which are governed under the SEZ Law.
The zone in Maungdaw is expected to focus on trade with Bangladesh as well as manufacturing, finance and services industries, but will not be designated as an SEZ.
The first phase of the zone will place an emphasis on trade with Bangladesh, while subsequent development will expand into the manufacturing, financial and services sectors, including banks, factories and other industries in the area, U Kyaw Aye Thein said.
In 2017-18 fiscal year, a total of K2.2 billion comprising K1.5 billion from the state government and K700 million from the consortium will be used for the construction of the zone.
The site will cover 50 acres of land initially and arrangements are underway for the state government and the consortium of businesses to sign an MoU. There is no timeline for the signing of the MoU yet.
When complete, Maungdaw economic zone will occupy 100 acres of land in Kanyin Chaung, which is not far from Maungdaw centre.
It is understood that the zone is located by a river, which has sufficient depths to accommodate marine vessels.
According to a local media report in February this year, two jetties along the river have already been constructed.
It is hard to imagine a more inappropriate site for the development of another SEZ given the ongoing conflict, overall insecurity and appalling human rights situation in the area,” he said.