MYANMAR’S 1 GW SOLAR TENDER CONCLUDES WITH LOWEST BID OF $0.0348/KWH
The country’s Ministry of Electricity and Energy allocated all tendered solar capacity in its first procurement exercise for large-scale PV. Final prices ranged from $0.0348 to $0.051 per kWh. China Machinery Engineering and Sungrow were the main winners, securing eight and nine projects, respectively.
(Source: PV Magazine, September 24, 2020)
RESEARCH VIEW | Hpone Myint Thu (Research Manager):
It was only in July 2019 when Myanmar witnessed its first electricity bill increase in the last five years. According to the Ministry of Planning, Finance and Industry (MOPFI), the government provided electricity to public at an annual loss of about USD400 million between 2017 and 2019. In fact, raising the monthly bills in 2019 by more than 70% was part of an effort to raise revenues from electricity tariffs while sealing one of the major leakages from the treasury. With an average household in urban area consuming approximately 400 units (kWh) every month, the new rates were expected to narrow budgetary losses. In light of the Covid-19 disruptions in April 2020, however, the government had to promptly ease the rate hike introduced last year by providing each household the electricity bill exemptions for the first 150 units as a subsidy. While the exemptions were timely and necessary in the face of urgent need for economic relief measures, one should note, on the other hand, that the role the competitive pricing of electricity plays in Myanmar became more pronounced and irrefutable as a result. With solar bidders offering final prices between USD0.0348 and USD0.051 per kWh, yet the range well below the last year rate hike, the households in Myanmar should be able to continue using electricity at affordable rates in the foreseeable future. In Colliers view, this would help the government in ramping up the solarization efforts in its quest for a sustainable economic growth as a developing country in the long run. It would also be helpful in ensuring a quick revival of the post-Covid-19 economy in times like today.
DESPITE CURRENT ECONOMIC FALLOUT IN MYANMAR, ADB FORECASTS A BOUNCE
Although Myanmar’s GDP growth has fallen to 1.8 percent due to the effects of COVID-19, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has reported that growth is forecast to bounce back to 6 percent in 2021. The bank’s Wellness in Worrying Times: Asian Development Outlook 2020 forecasts Myanmar’s GDP growth for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 will fall by more than a half due to COVID-19. However, the projected GDP would bounce back almost as dramatically, ADB said. It said growth will be supported by a stable performance in agriculture, higher government spending and expansion in the telecommunications sector.
(Source: The Irrawaddy, September 15, 2020)
RESEARCH VIEW | Hpone Myint Thu (Research Manager):
Myanmar, in fact, is one of the only three South East Asian countries slated to remain in the positive growth territory this year. With the surge of Covid-19 cases in recent weeks, however, that number may be revised by ADB in the next quarter. Whether the country will be able to flatten the curve in time before the election is held is something everyone will have to wait and see in upcoming weeks. According to the ADB studies, the restrictions imposed by the government in response to the virus are already considered to be the second most stringent in South East Asia since before the recent surge in cases. The overall mobility across the country was reduced by more than 20% before the end of September, and that, in turn, may have affected the overall GDP growth. Now that the stay-at-home restrictions have been extended across the whole Yangon region, the resulting stricter measures will inevitably take a toll on the economy. As this crisis is far from over and the discovery of vaccine may still be several months away, Colliers recommends stakeholders to expect more erratic disruptions like this in the near term. Adapting to this new normal by having a more comprehensive understanding about the virus and keeping the business continuity resilient by adopting effective safety and communication measures will be key for months to come.
HOUSING PROJECTS IN YANGON TO BE CONVERTED TO QUARANTINE CENTERS
Housing projects in Yangon to be converted to quarantine centers The Yangon Region government announced that it will convert the South Dagon’s Aung Myint Mo and Hlaing Thar Yar’s Shwe Lin Ban housing projects into COVID-19 quarantine centers. The plan was devised with the Myanmar Licensed Contractors Association (MLCA) and Myanmar Licensed Contractors Public Co. (MLCP).
(Source: Myanmar Times, Sep 22, 2020)
RESEARCH VIEW | Swam Pyae Naing (Researcher):
Between 2017 and 2020, the Department of Urban Housing and Development (DUHD) implemented more than 15,000 affordable and low-cost housing units across Yangon. Nowadays, a large majority of them can be found in Dagon Seikkan and Hlaing Thar Yar townships. With room sizes ranging from 30 – 120 sq metres, they were intended for low-income earners planning to buy an apartment of their own in Yangon. In collaboration with the Construction and Housing Development Bank (CHDB), DUHD offered housing loans in purchasing these units. However, some affordable projects were built in the outskirts of the city given hefty land prices and the limited availability of public land in more mature parts of the urban area. That made some of the apartment projects inaccessible and too remote from existing public transportation terminals. Overtime, some of the projects were left unsold and the prospect of utilizing these units and selling them in the market diminished given the lack of budget for bringing an integrated ecosystem in the surrounding area to attract more residents. With the surge in Covid-19 cases overwhelming majority of the public healthcare facilities in the last few weeks, these vacant affordable projects provided a breathing space for the Ministry of Health seeking more spaces to accommodate the rising number of infected patients and individuals. As more infected cases may arise in the coming weeks, Colliers recommends setting up makeshift quarantine centers rather in MICE halls and spaces in collaboration and consultation with the private landlords. As affordable projects are not designed to be like hospitals and have multiple floors, people in quarantine and healthcare workers alike, otherwise, may face difficulties in times of emergency.
Myanmar Market Intelligence | October 2 2020
Hpone is an Assistant Manager in the research and advisory department at Colliers International office in Myanmar. He is responsible for conducting properties research, creating and managing databases, producing property reports, supporting valuation and advisory teams, providing site data analysis, interpretation and case studies and client-management.