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Manhattan prices in Yangon

Foreign NGOs and companies are coming under fire for fuelling a rise in office and housing rental prices

  • Published: | Viewed: 3,229 | Comments: 0
  • Newspaper section: Spectrum
  • Writer: Yola Verbruggen
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International NGOs are facing strong criticism in Myanmar not for the work they do, but for the large amounts of donor money they spend on renting offices. Recent reports have found that considerable sums are paid for office space in Yangon, where most organisations have their head offices. Adding to the controversy, some of these buildings are owned by members of the military, former generals or businessmen with close connections to the former regime. 

When, on May 20, Myanmar news journal The Irrawaddy reported the high rental prices paid by Unicef in Yangon to the wife of a former general, a public outcry followed. The organisation pays an incredible US$87,000 (2.8 million baht) per month for rent. The owner of the building is the wife of former general Nyunt Tin, agricultural minister under the old regime.

The office is a large mansion located in leafy Golden Valley, an apt name for an area where houses can command such high rentals.

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