Your Excellency U Win Khaing
Union Minister for Electricity and Energy,
Your Excellency U Zarni Aung
Regional Minister of Electricity, Industry and Construction, Mandalay Regional Government
Mr Neil McGregor
Group President and CEO of Sembcorp Industries,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. Mingalabar. I am delighted to join you today for the official opening of Sembcorp Industries’ first project in Myanmar. I would like to congratulate the Singapore and Myanmar Sembcorp teams for the successful launch of this power plant.
2. The Sembcorp Myingyan Independent Power Plant demonstrates the strong partnership between Myanmar and Singapore, across the public and private sectors. In the design, construction and operationalisation of the plant, Sembcorp was supported by a network of experts from the construction and engineering industries from both Myanmar and Singapore, as well as Singapore-based international lenders and advisors.
Singapore and Myanmar have built enduring bilateral relations
3. This US$310 million 225-MW power plant marks a major Singapore investment in Myanmar. It bears testimony to the close bilateral economic relations between our two countries, which have been forged over time through political, economic and people-to-people relationships.
4. There are regular exchanges between our leaders at the bilateral and regional levels. Just last November, State Counsellor visited Singapore for the ASEAN Summit. At the bilateral level, the Singapore-Myanmar Joint Ministerial Working Committee (JMWC) covers three key areas of cooperation: (a) trade and investment; (b) financial sector; and (c) the legal sector. We look forward to the next JMWC meeting, which will be hosted by Myanmar later this year.
5. Myanmar is an important trading partner of Singapore. Our bilateral trade in 2018 reached close to US$3 billion, up 10% from 2017. This made us Myanmar’s third largest trading partner globally. We look forward to further deepening our ties with Myanmar, through bilateral engagements, as well as engagements with the ASEAN Economic Community.
Continued interest from Singapore enterprises to venture into Myanmar
6. Myanmar’s young and growing middle class and rapid urbanisation, as well as availability of natural resources, make it an attractive investment location for Singapore enterprises. To support such enterprises seeking to expand in Myanmar, Enterprise Singapore set up its overseas centre in Yangon in 2012. Enterprise Singapore also engages the regional governments and corporates closely, and facilitates business partnerships between Singapore and Myanmar companies.
7. Singapore-based enterprises across a variety of sectors such as infrastructure, manufacturing, agriculture, aquaculture, retail and Infocomm Tech (ICT), are increasingly keen to expand in areas beyond Yangon; including in Mandalay. Let me cite a few examples.
a. Grab, a technology company offering integrated ride-hailing transport services, food delivery and payment solutions, has commenced operations in Mandalay, providing various modes of transport for locals and tourists.
b. Surbana-Jurong, a leading regional consultancy focusing on infrastructure and urban development, is assisting with the New Mandalay Resort City’s conceptual planning.
c. Evercomm, a dynamic ICT start-up, has recently established its Mandalay office. Their local team comprises over 20 Myanmar ICT graduates who will undertake programming work for regional projects.
d. Later this year, PSB Academy will partner Myanmar’s Chindwin College to set up a Mandalay private education institute offering engineering and business degree programmes to Higher National Diploma holders.
Singapore strongly supports Myanmar in meeting its growing energy and infrastructure needs
8. I am also pleased to note the close collaboration between the governments and enterprises from Singapore and Myanmar to support the development of this power plant that we see before us today. This is a significant infrastructure project to support Myanmar’s rising energy demand as it grows and develops.
9. The Myanmar government aims to achieve 100% electrification across the country for all its citizens by 2030. The Sembcorp Myingyan independent power plant contributes to this goal, by providing electricity to more than 5 million people in Myanmar, by feeding into the national grid.
10. The power plant has also created over 1,000 jobs at the construction phase, and about 100 engineering, operations and maintenance jobs when the plant is running. In fact, when we were driving into the plant earlier, Sembcorp Industries CEO Neil McGregor pointed out that the banners along the road feature many of the local employees in this plant. This has benefitted the people of Myanmar, and provided skills-upgrading opportunities in sectors such as engineering and professional services.
11. Over the years, Singapore has developed a strong ecosystem that integrates infrastructure players across the entire value chain from project development, financing to dispute resolution. To facilitate regional infrastructure collaboration, we launched Infrastructure Asia last year - a platform to connect infrastructure demand in the region with a supply of sector experts. We welcome our friends from Myanmar and international partners to partner us and tap on Infrastructure Asia to support infrastructure development in Myanmar and the region.
12. In closing, let me congratulate Sembcorp once again on the successful opening of the Myingyan power plant. I wish the plant continued success, and I look forward to more of such collaborations between Myanmar and Singapore in the future.
13. Jay Su Tdin Ba The, thank you very much.