Myanmar seeking $128m loan for Dawei road link, says Thai minister

Thailand is considering a request from Myanmar for a US$128 million loan to build a road from their shared border to the Dawei Special Economic Zone, a Bangkok newspaper reported last week.

The request for the THB4.5 billion (about K175 billion) loan was made at meeting of the SEZ’s joint management committee earlier this month, Thai Transport Minister Mr Arkhom Termpittayapaisith was quoted as saying by the Bangkok Post on February 18.

The proposed two-lane, 132-kilometre road would link the Htee Khee-Ban Nam Ron border crossing with the SEZ site at Dawei.

The proposed road was part of an infrastructure development plan for the SEZ, Arkhom told the newspaper.

The loan request was being assessed by Thailand’s Neighbouring Countries Economic Development Cooperation Agency and a decision would be announced at a meeting of the joint management committee next month, he said.

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Arkhom said decisions were also expected at the meeting on the time-frame for building a port and power plant at the SEZ under contracts awarded to a consortium headed by Thai conglomerate, Italian-Thai Development Plc.

The plan to build Southeast Asia’s largest SEZ just north of Dawei, the Tanintharyi Region capital, has faced many delays since Myanmar and Thailand signed a memorandum of understanding on the project in 2008.

In 2010, Myanmar granted Italian-Thai Development a 60-year concession to develop a deep-sea port, industrial estate and road and rail links to the border with Thailand.

ITD withdrew from the agreement in 2013 after encountering difficulties raising finance but remained interested in the project. In 2015, ITD and its consortium partners were granted a 75-year concession to develop the initial phase of the project, including an industrial estate covering 27 square kilometres and related infrastructure.

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