Construction of major infrastructure projects in Dawei has stalled for lack of clear support from the governments of Thailand and Myanmar, the project developer says.
Somchet Thinaphong, the managing director of Dawei Development Co (DDC), said only the relocation of affected villagers in eastern Myanmar has progressed according to plan, reaching 90% in some areas.
Meanwhile, construction of the main infrastructure has yet to take shape, pending clearer shows of support from the two governments.
Roads and deep-sea ports are the top priorities of Dawei, said Dr Somchet.
DDC was set up by contractor Italian-Thai Development Plc, which has been granted a concession from the Myanmar government to develop a special economic zone and deep-sea port in Dawei.
''So far, we've seen reports that the Thai and Myanmar governments have agreed to push the Dawei project forward jointly, but we've not received documents from any party that would inform us what they will do,'' said Dr Somchet.
Government support is vital to the development of the US$50-billion Dawei project, in which $8.5 billion is needed for the first phase of infrastructure.
Dr Somchet's comments referred to a meeting between Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Myanmar President Thein Sein on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.
The leaders agreed to speed up the project and announce their development plan at next month's Asean Summit in Cambodia.
The countries also agreed on a three-level mechanism including a high-level committee co-chaired by Myanmar's vice president and Kittiratt Na-Ranong, Thailand's deputy prime minister and finance minister.
Industry Minister M.R. Pongsvas Svasti yesterday said details of the plan will be clearer next month once the joint working committee comes together.
According to the existing memorandum of understanding between the two countries, Thailand and Myanmar are setting up a joint working committee to oversee Dawei development including which areas will be undertaken by each party and the sums of investment.
M.R. Pongsvas met yesterday with Setsuo Iuchi, president of the Japanese External Trade Organisation's Bangkok office, who reaffirmed Japan's keen interest in joining the investment and development at Dawei.
Japan's state and private sectors have confirmed their commitment to joint cooperation with Thailand and Myanmar in the Dawei development, M.R. Pongsvas said.
In a related development, Pansak Vinyaratn, an adviser to Ms Yingluck, yesterday said a joint venture including stakeholders from Thailand, Myanmar and Japan will be set up to handle investment in Dawei and build confidence.
Mr Pansak said the leaders of Thailand and Myanmar have agreed on a special-purpose vehicle (SPV) company to manage the project.
He acknowledged the Thai government may be called upon to financially support infrastructure projects at Dawei.
According to Mr Pansak, a working panel headed by Mr Kittiratt is considering the appropriate structure of the investment, including shareholding and sources of funds.
The structure of the SPV is expected to be submitted to the Thai cabinet soon, and the leaders of Thailand and Myanmar plan to visit the Dawei site next month, he said.
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Writer: Nareerat Wiriyapong, Soonya Vanichkorn & Chatrudee Theparat