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December 12, 2019

Improving transport infrastructure can help uplift rural areas

  • As an agricultural country, Myanmar must give priority to building its transport infrastructure, especially for agricultural products in rural areas, which underpin the country’s GDP.
    Besides, by making roads and bridges accessible all year long, people living near them can travel faster and more easily to markets to sell agricultural products. Their income would rise and living conditions improve significantly.
    Infrastructural development of the regions and states can play a crucial role in helping increase the country’s GDP. Better road networks are required to transport finished products to the market.
    Hence, the Union Government has adopted a strategy to turn 80 per cent of rural roads into all-weather ones by 2030.
    The move to help realize this dream came yesterday, with the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw giving its nod to the Ministry of Construction and the Ministry of Planning and Finance to borrow US$51.20 million from the Asia Development Bank.
    In support of the strategy, the ADB has offered a loan to Myanmar, and if we can sign the agreement by December, we can enjoy the grant of $5.8 million, and so, the actual amount of loan would be reduced to US$45.4 million.
    The loan would be spent on building transportation infrastructure in Ayeyawady Region and Magway Region first, and it will be utilized for similar projects in other regions and states next year.
    The Ayeyawady Region is a delta area full of rivers and creeks. With fertile land and abundant aquatic resources, agriculture is a major source of livelihood for the local people.
    The region was widely known as the granary of Myanmar, and the promotion of its agricultural sector is largely dependent on easy access to the area.
    Developing road networks would help make this delta area reachable, without consuming much time.
    Meanwhile, reliable road transport could support farmers who grow peas, pulses, and sesame in the Magway Region of central Myanmar.
    Developing basic infrastructure across the country would help farmers avoid wastage and derive greater benefits.
    Hence, the process for borrowing the loan from the ADB should be completed by December.
    We are confident that the rural transport system and farm-to-market roads, in general, can help improve the economic conditions of farmers, who make up 70 per cent of our labour force.

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