Yangon Regional Government drew backlash after awarding China Railway and Myanmar Shwe Yin Co the right to implement a central traffic controller system out of five total shortlisted companies.
The tender which was floated last July, drew 32 applicants from which the final four joint ventures were selected in late last year. Afterwards, a joint venture between China Railway and Myanmar Shwe Yin Co was announced as the winner.
The other three companies who made it into the final list voiced their objection citing security concerns for Yangon City.
“The Chinese state-owned company is a railway construction company and their local partner, Myanmar Shwe Yin, is a trading company. From the perspective of tech companies like ourselves, we don’t understand [why they are chosen]. What we planned to do was buy international software and run the operation with our own engineers. Now, a Chinese state-owned company is going to control the system for a whole five years,” U Thein Aung, director of Vanguard Engineering Solution, said.
However, U Min Oo, the chair of the Yangon Computer Professionals Association, also a member of the tender selection committee, said the security concerns are unfounded.
“Many people worry about the security of their daily life because the Chinese company will control the Yangon traffic system. But there is actually no need to worry. We control the process according to the contract between the government and the company. We also have laws and rules about that.”
Aiming to alleviate Yangon’s traffic congestion, Upper House Parliament member U Phone Myint Aung submitted a motion to address the issue by installing a traffic control system in July last year. Subsequently, the President’s Office allocated K20 billion from the presidential budget for the installation and operation of such a system. Then the regional government sponsored the tender process.
“I asked the regional government whether the process is fair and correct. When they answered, they didn’t reveal the pricing of the bidders and said it was confidential. I find this lacking transparency,” U Phone Myint Aung said. Several calls to the Ministry of Transport by Myanmar Business Today about the tender process were unreturned.
He added that he is sad to see only three companies among the 19 bidding companies openly complaining. U Phone Myint Aung assumes that other companies do not want to be at odds with the government.
The companies that objected the tender award are Vanguard Technology, which is partnering with a Taipei-based company, KTK Technology, which partnering with a counterpart from the US, and Amber Star Technology, which is partnering with Samsung. They said they were not informed about what technology and what budget the winning company will operate within to implement the system.
“In the public eye, it’s just a traffic control system. In reality, every inch of the city will be monitored. Allowing a foreign state-owned company to operate such a system is risky for the safety of Yangon. Only tech-savvy people know how much risk this carries,” U Kyaw Soe Oo, director of Amber Star Company, said.
The government’s plan for the central traffic control system entails installing more than 600 closed-circuit television cameras in more than 150 traffic lights which will be automatically controlled. The implementation phase will start within six months after the tender.
“We made recommendations on the four shortlisted company based on the proposals and how they are going to operate. The government does the selection, not us,” U Aung Myint, another member of the tender evaluation committee and vice president of Myanmar Computer Association, told Myanmar Business Today.
The joint venture between China CCRC and Myanmar Shwe Yin Co have to implement the traffic control system before March 31. If not, they will be fined K100,000 per day, according to U Saw Htun Aung Myint, the leader of the tender selection committee.
At present, Myanmar Shwe Yin is starting preparations to implement the system. The central controller unit will be based on Pyidaungsu road near the Thai Embassy.
The Myanmar Pulses, Beans and Sesame Seeds Merchants Association hopes the country would be able to garner more export income in 2015-16 fiscal year than the previous FY despite a drop in export volume, thanks to a price hike of black gram.
Starting from the harvest of beans in 2015-16, the local price ranged from $800 to $2,000 per tonne of black gram (locally known as ‘black matpe bean’), while the export price ranged from $1,300 to $1,500 (K1.6-1.85 million).
“In the previous year, we earned $700 to $800 per tonne of black gram and total exported amount was 600,000 tonnes in 2014-15. We exported only about 400,000 tonnes this year. The export amount dropped because of lower production due to bad weather. But as the price increases, we will be able to earn more than last year,” the secretary of the Association U Min Ko Oo told Myanmar Business Today.
“Last year price of black matpe was K800,000 per tonne, but this year the price increased starting from the time of harvest to around K1.4-1.6 million,” he said. The reason behind the price increase is India’s advance payment system, he added.
In Myanmar black gram is planted in the months of November and December and harvested in the months of February and March. Indian merchants have already bought the black gram that would be harvested in February and March.
“During the months of February and March the opening price for FAQ (fair average quality) is $1,400,” U Min Ko Oo said.
The price of black gram in local market peaked at K2.65 million per tonne in August 2015, according to Bayintgnaung Wholesale Market traders. According to the Association, black gram was purchased with prepaid system and the price is K1.5 million per tonne now.
“Mung bean from the whole country is coming into the market starting from the month of December and is being traded fast. Black gram comes into the market in early February and there is only very little buying and selling,” broker Ko Lar Lu from Bayintnaung Wholesale Market, said.
“Mung bean comes in mainly from Kyaukpadaung, Shwebo and Magway. Black gram comes in from Naypyitaw, Pyinmanar and the delta region. Black gram from Bago region has not come in yet. After that there will be more Black Gram in the market,” he said.
As the currency exchange rate dropped under K1,240 (for US dollar) in early February, the recent price of black gram and mung bean has also dropped by K20,000 per tonne.
“The price of mung bean is between K1.4 to 1.6 million but it was levelled at K1.4 million. As the exchange rate dropped under K1,300 the price dropped about K20,000. It is also the same for black gram,” he said.
According to the Ministry of Commerce, in 2015-16 fiscal year until January 22 Myanmar exported 400,000 tonnes of black gram fetching $385.8 million, 135,000 tonnes of mung bean for $130 million and 230,000 tonnes of green gram garnering more than $233 million.
“So far in this fiscal year, the amount of the export of pulses and beans has been more than 800,000 tonnes and we earned more than $770 million,” U Win Myint, director of the Ministry of Commerce, said.
According to the Ministry of Commerce, 1.27 million tonnes of pulses and beans were exported in the 2014-15 fiscal year earning about $1 billion.
Author: Zayar Nyein | 2 March, 2016 08:45 am | Vol 4 Issue 9
Credit : Myanmar Business Today
Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) will hold an investment fair on September 30 in Mandalay region for the first time, in the hopes of attracting more investment in upper Myanmar.
“Our main purpose of holding this fair in Mandalay is to increase foreign investment in Mandalay region, and also to promote Mandalay’s small and medium enterprises. We wish to form connections with foreign companies to get more investment and technology,” Daw Nay Nay Oo, director of MIC Mandalay Region, told Myanmar Business Today.
According to the national multi-development program, investment fair is a prescribed tool to promote foreign investment in the country.
The “Myanmar Investment Fair” in Mandalay will invite 30 foreign businesses to participate, MIC said.
“Currently, foreign investors have not put much into the [Mandalay] region, as they fear weak returns. Some businesses are waiting for the country’s political situation to stabilise before investing. If they hold this investment fair in Mandalay, they will see the real conditions around Mandalay region and will be more interested in investing,” U Tun Yin , general manager of Myo Thar Industrial Zone in Mandalay region, told Myanmar Business Today.
Mandalay is closer than Yangon to India and China, so businesses have a greater possibility to save on land transportation costs, U Tun Yin claimed.
In the current 2015-16 fiscal year, foreign investments in Madalay have been limited to one Japanese investment of $18.97 million dollars, while local investors have invested K9 billion.