The necessary infrastructure is being set up to link Dawei Special Economic Zone (SEZ) to the national grid, which will enable the area to enjoy access to electricity within the next 2-3 years, said U Soe Myint, deputy permanent secretary for the Ministry of Electricity and Energy.
Backed up loans from the Asia Development Bank (ADB), the ministry is expected to provide up to 300 megawatts of power to the SEZ, said U Myint San, vice chair of Dawei SEZ Management Committee.
Dawei SEZ will be able to enjoy electricity after the grid is extended from Mawlamyine to Ye and Dawei by 2021-22 under the first phase of the project, said U Soe Myint. Eventually, the entire region of Tanintharyi will enjoy access to electricity.
Currently, the whole of Tanintharyi including Dawei, is not connected to the grid and locals have to buy electricity from private providers at high prices. Electricity rates vary from K200 to K500 per unit, depending on location. At those levels, investors are unlikely to set up operations at the Dawei SEZ, prompting the government to take action, U Myint San said.
The Dawei SEZ project has actually been in the works since the previous government’s administration but delayed due to the lack of suitable infrastructure as well as social and environmental issues relating to the location of the SEZ.
Last month, Myanmar and Thailand agreed to speed up development of Dawei SEZ by providing the area with access to electricity and building roads to connect it to the Thai border.
Development of the Dawei deep sea port project will continue according to a contract between Italian-Thai Development Company Ltd and the Myanmar government. The total designated area for the SEZ is 196 sq km.
In July this year, the World Wildlife Fund warned that Myanmar’s rainforests and at least nine globally-threatened species in Tanintharyi would face significant risks if the Dawei-Htee Khee road project continues without a comprehensive biodiversity protection plan. – Translated
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