Foreign companies are to be allowed to bid for road and bridge construction contracts thanks to changes in rules from the Ministry of Construction.
In the past, only local companies were allowed to invest through Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) agreements with the government, while it was mandatory for foreign firms to tie up with a local partner.
Foreign investment in the construction sector currently stands at $37 million, with South Korea, Japan, Singapore and Thailand being the highest investing countries. Domestic investment stands at K733 billion ($751 million), according to official data.
“According to the Foreign Investment Law, construction was limited to foreign companies collaborating with local companies. Now, with foreign companies bidding for road and bridge construction local companies will find it a big challenge,” local construction businessperson U Paing Soe Yar Kyaw said.
The lack of skilled workers and access to technology deter local businesses from infrastructure development programs, industry insiders say.
The Myanmar Construction Business Association said it intends to tackle skills shortages through training programs.