DVB Multimedia Group

Thai developer seeks update on Dawei plan

Somjet Thinaphong, Dawei Development Company’s managing director, shows Reuters a model of the Dawei special economic zone during an interview in Bangkok on 19 September 2012. (Photo: Reuters)

Thai firm Italian­Thai Development Plc (ITD) says it is ready to restart construction of the long­delayed Dawei deep­sea port and special economic zone over the next few months if the Thai and Burmese governments approve continuation of the megaproject at a joint meeting on 10 February.

Premchai Karnasuta, president of ITD, said the company is waiting for a decision from the two governments on whether they really want to continue the project, including a 4.5 billion baht ($128 million) loan Thailand would offer Burma to finance road construction.

“The company can restart construction in a few months if the two governments reach agreement,” said Premchai. “I have promised to Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi that ITD will speed up construction as soon as possible.”

ITD signed an agreement in August last year to start developing the first phase of the megaproject, with an initial investment budget of $1.7 billion. Some $500 million will go toward a 450­megawatt gas­fired power plant.

ITD also plans to invest in an additional coal­fired power plant once the Dawei industrial zone is fully developed.

Another $500 million will be spent on a petrochemical plant and oil refinery to serve demand at Dawei.

The Thai government in 2015 agreed to offer a 4.5 billion baht loan to Burma to finance the construction of a 132­kilometre road from the Dawei deep­sea port to Ban Phu Nam Ron in Thailand’s Kanchanaburi province.

The Thai cabinet already endorsed the loan plan. But the road construction was delayed as the new Burmese government asked to re­study the loan plans.

Premchai said the company has already invested $200 million in the initial phase of the project, which includes roads in the industrial estate, a small port, water facilities, electricity and the cost for land expropriation for road construction from the Thai border to the Dawei project in Tenasserim Division.

Thai Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith is scheduled to head the Thai delegation meeting the Burmese government on Friday as both sides aim to update the Dawei development project. Arkhom is expected to ask whether the new Burmese government still needs Thailand’s lending facility.

This story was originally published by the Bangkok Post here.