Thai steelmaker to blame for approval delay, says Thilawa SEZ


Thilawa Special Economic Zone management committee has hit back at a Thai steelmaker’s claims that it would suffer big losses because of a delay in granting operating approval for its plant at the SEZ.

In a letter to the Bangkok Post last week, management committee chairman U Set Aung rejected the claim by Millcon Steel Plc and said the SET-listed company was to blame for the delay.

The newspaper had on April 23 quoted Millcon Steel president and chief executive Sittichai Leeswadtrakul as saying the company would suffer losses of 100 million baht (about US$2.85 million) over the delay.

He said an operating licence for the steel plant had been delayed from March to May because the authorities had requested more paperwork for unknown reasons.

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In his letter published in the Bangkok Post on May 4, Set Aung said Millcon needed to undergo some final inspections before receiving operating approval.

“However, unless the company officially asks – or, in other words, unless the company is ready, these inspections cannot be conducted,” he wrote.

“As of late April, Milcom [sic] did not appear ready and had not asked the management committee for the final inspections.

“Thus, it is clearly not prevarication by the management committee but delays at Milcom itself which have delayed the start of operations of the new plant. 

“I am concerned your report about Milcom could create misunderstanding among investors and undermine the image of what is clearly an exemplary SEZ in Myanmar.”

Set Aung said the SEZ had been developed under the previous Thein Sein government as “a model SEZ, designed to eliminate red tape, streamline procedures and set high standards of transparency in the approval process, in line with international procedures”.

An account of the April 23 report in the Bangkok Post was published in Frontier’s April 28 edition.

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