Infrastructure Update: Addressing Indonesia's Infrastructure Gap

Infrastructure Update | May 3, 2018
Authors: Sunita Kapoor, Jack Myint, and Heidi Mah
 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Addressing Indonesia's Infrastructure Gap

The Indonesian government has recently announced that it will slash a number of infrastructure-related National Strategic Projects (PSN), from an initial 245 to 222 projects. PSN is based on Presidential regulation (Perpres) No. 3/2016 that was amended with Perpres No. 58/2017 (bbn). Some of these dropped projects would include the railway track from Jambi to Palembang in South Sumatra, railway tracks in East Kalimanta, clean water facilities in North Sumatra, a dam in Pelosika in Central Sulawesi and the special economic zone in Merauke, Papua. The different ministries have been asked to further re-evaluate projects based on executional prospects. The special economic zone for example, has been dropped because of land acquisition challenges. The remaining 222 projects consist of 69 roads, 51 dams, 29 industrial and tourist zones, 16 railways, 11 energy projects, 10 seaports, eight clean water and sanitation facilities, six airports, six irrigation systems, six smelters, four technological projects, three housing projects, one agriculture fishery project, one sea dike and one educational project.

Scaling back the number of planned and promised projects is not the only episode happening within Indonesia’s infrastructural landscape. The increasing number of site-related accidents in Jakarta also reflects the broader risk of President Joko Widodo’s overtly ambitious vision to finish infrastructural developments in time for next year’s general elections. Such urgency can potentially influence the process of awarding of tender bids. Construction companies that overemphasize project progress might stand a higher chance of attaining the bid, but this would come at a cost of required safety measures and quality management procedures. At present, many of the country’s infrastructure problems stem from the lack of agility and failure to implement proper urban planning strategies. As the needs of the growing population far exceeds the slow implementation of infrastructure projects, politicalizing infrastructure developments will only increase risk for the future government. The upcoming ASIAN Games in August 2018 will test Jakarta’s infrastructural capability of accommodating to an estimated 3 million visitors.

Moving forward, Indonesia will have to work on ironing its processes prior to announcing and awarding tender projects. The latest Procuring Infrastructure Public Private Partnerships 2018 report published by the World Bank group provides useful indicators to identify good infrastructure developments in the region. In one of its indexes titled ‘the preparation of infrastructure projects’, Indonesia ranks 63%, above Malaysia (50%), Cambodia (14%) and Myanmar (11%) amongst others. However, Indonesia ranks below Vietnam (77%) and Philippines (85%); countries with a booming infrastructure landscape. One reason for the difference in ranking is the absence of specific methodologies used when it comes to considering public-private partnerships and awarding construction tenders. Instead of overpromising, the Indonesian government needs to reflect on the quality of future projects, their investment potentials, life cycle costs as well as the government’s ability to see through these infrastructure projects.

Smarter cities: meeting physical infrastructures needs

On April 25th, Chair of ASEAN, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang will join the ASEAN Smart Cities Network. He made the announcement at a dinner hosted for his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who was on a three-day official visit to Singapore ahead of the 32nd ASEAN Summit. These Vietnamese cities will join alongside 23 other proposed pilot cities in the region.

While majority of the attention has been focused on smart technologies and the development of digital infrastructures such as seamless e-payment systems, the smart city project is also intended at making cities smarter, infrastructure wise. Vertical integration of innovation and smart solutions will help many cities solve chronic urban challenges and meet its growing infrastructure needs. In Ho Chi Minh for example, the smart city project is intended to help deal with problems such as rapid population growth, inadequate healthcare infrastructures and transport challenges. Vietnam has also hosted a smart city innovation challenge late last year, sourcing for solutions to the country’s urban challenges which includes:

  • Affordable housing
  • Ecotourism and environmental planning
  • Greenery and public spaces
  • Traffic management and smarter parking
  • Drainage, sewerage and waste management
  • Water purification and delivery
  • Energy efficiency
  • Urban agriculture
  • Public security and monitoring of natural disasters
  • E-government services
  • Healthcare
  • Education

As evident that most digital solutions are geared towards meeting modernization especially in developing countries, physical infrastructure will remain a foundational theme for most pilot smart city projects in the region.

 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 
 
The Council is currently putting together three infrastructure committee position papers (Road and Rail Safety; Smart Cities and Sustainability; Access to Infrastructure Projects: Role of Private Sector) that will be discussed during country business missions, industry missions, and the ASEAN Transport Ministers Meeting. There will also be an additional section on case studies that highlight key projects of member companies, and their relative success. ASEAN has just recently released a concept note on ASEAN Smart Cities Network, as proposed by Singapore. The Council will be building the position papers based on this concept note. Kindly submit your feedback and inputs to Sunita Kapoor (skapoor@usasean.org).
 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
Cambodia
Cambodia reinstates Sisophon – Battambang railway
Cambodia Airports handles 8.8M passengers, ready for future growth

Indonesia
Indonesia seeks ways to speed up China high-speed rail project
Building Jakarta
Indonesia to use Japan loans and private capital for $4.5bn railway
Indonesia expected to drop 264t rupiah worth of infrastructure projects
Greater Jakarta Area to have Integrated Mass Transport System
Govt to Continue 13 Port Construction Projects
Transportation Ministry takes over KEK Sei Mangkei railway
Government slashes number of strategic projects
State Construction Firm PP Sells Indonesia's First Perpetual Bonds
Revised regulation to accommodate giant seawall project

Laos
Deputy PM advises Vangvieng officials on tourism development
High petrol prices fuel public transport changes
Major upgrade slated for Sangthong-Paklai road
ADB to assist infrastructure development in Vangvieng

Malaysia
NAP2018 Will Soar Malaysia To Greater Economic Heights
Malaysia plans to double airport capacity for 2 billion fliers in Asia
Malaysia to double airport capacity for 2b fliers in Asia
Beijing-based AIIB keen to finance huge infrastructure projects in Malaysia
Malaysia to call for high-speed rail civil contracts next year

Myanmar
Yangon deep-sea port brings hope in disappearing villages

Philippines
Taiwan eyes role in PH infra push
NEDA approves eight new infrastructure projects
After crackdown, Philippines plans fresh mining curbs
Indonesia’s Go-Jek eyes Philippine expansion, to meet transport regulator
Philippines looks beyond China for public works
Neda awaits DOTr okay of airport rehab project | BusinessMirror
Infra, capital spending 32.4% higher in March
Philippines approves San Miguel's $14 bln airport project
Government spent higher for infrastructure, personnel services in January-March | BusinessMirror
China's ‘Silk Road’, seen to fund Philippine infrastructure, hits snags — report | Philstar.com
Execution is biggest hurdle for ‘BBB’ plan

Singapore
Goals: A more inclusive transport system
3 start-ups eyeing share of Singapore's private-car hire market
Smart technologies to enhance Singapore's living environment
S'pore can contribute to Asean's sustainability effort, says Heng
Singapore to play a key role in Asia's infrastructure development
MPA awards S$1.46b deal for Phase 2 of mega Tuas Terminal
Singapore Announces Greater Project Financing Support | Lexology

Thailand
Bangkok-Nong Khai railway link details firm
New train network still a few years away
New Songkhla to border motorway planned
U-tapao getting satellites
Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang see sharp rise in arrivals during Songkran
Chinese investors keen on Thai airport investment
Thai and foreign tourists up during Songkran
UPDATE 1-Thai March tourist arrivals up 16.27 pct y/y - tourism...

Vietnam
Vietnam vows to build smart cities despite huge challenges
North-South Expressway requires public-private partnership: WB
Aviation market grows as infrastructure construction lags behind
VN’s waterway logistics in deep trouble
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Cambodia

Cambodia reinstates Sisophon – Battambang railway Railway Gazette 30th Apr 2018
The reopening of a further 69 km of main line railway was celebrated on April 29 when an inaugural train ran from Sisophon to Battambang carrying Transport Minister Sun Chanthol. The reopening of this section of the country’s northern main line between Phnom Penh and the Thai border marks a further step in the revival of the country’s railway, following the opening of the 48 km Poipet – Sisophon section on April 4. The 386 km line connecting Phnom Penh to the Thai rail network was completed in 1942, but damaged by fighting in the early 1970s. In 2009 the Asian Development Bank and the Cambodian government agreed to fund reinstatement, and work was launched with a groundbreaking ceremony in Poipet on July 25 2014. However, while this partnership helped to rebuild the southern main line between Phnom Penh and the port of Sihanoukville which reopened in 2011, the northern line has been a more challenging project, with land acquisition and resettlement of residents causing particular problems. As a result, the reinstatement of the northern line is now being funded solely by the Cambodian government at an estimated cost of US$200m. ‘The track from Battambang to Pursat will be ready by the end of May’, predicted John Guiry, Chief Executive of operating concessionaire Royal Railway Co. The government has set a goal of completing rehabilitation of the Poipet – Phnom Penh line by the end of June, Chanthol added.

Cambodia Airports handles 8.8M passengers, ready for future growth The Phnom Penh Post 27th Apr 2018
CAMBODIA AIRPORTS, the developer and operator of the Kingdom’s three international airports, has invested heavily in developing airport infrastructure to handle a surge in passenger and cargo traffic, and to prepare for future growth. Last year, the airports in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville received a combined 8.8 million passengers, a 25 percent year-on-year increase. At the same time, cargo shipments grew by almost 40 percent to a record 65,000 tonnes.Eric Delobel, CEO of Cambodia Airports, says the huge increases did not come by accident, but rather were the result of a successful strategy to develop air connectivity and provide sufficient airport infrastructure to handle the growth.

Indonesia

Indonesia seeks ways to speed up China high-speed rail project The Straits Times 2nd May 2018
Indonesia said on Wednesday (May 2) it is seeking ways to accelerate a US$5 billion (S$6.68 billion) high-speed rail project - being built by a consortium of local and Chinese state firms - which is facing obstacles from land ownership issues. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is due to meet President Joko Widodo next Monday during a trip to Jakarta to mark the 15th anniversary of China's partnership with Asean. The Jakarta-Bandung high-speed rail line, the first for the country, is a flagship project of Mr Joko and was awarded to China in 2015 after a contentious race with Japan.About 2,700 sq m of ground has been compacted for the first tunnel of the 150km line, the ministry said. But ownership rights for nearly 40 per cent of land has yet to be resolved, it said. CRC has promised the project will be completed within three years of land clearance being completed, although it was not clear when that would happen, Mr Ridwan Jamaluddin, deputy coordinating minister of maritime affairs, said after meeting Mr Lu and China's ambassador to Indonesia, Mr Xiao Qian.

Building Jakarta Inside Indonesia 28th Apr 2018
Many of Jakarta’s infrastructure issues stem from a failure to implement urban planning and design strategies following independence. Poor implementation (caused by inertia, corruption and lack of capacity) and lack of agility in responding to new challenges has left Jakarta unprepared to accommodate its current population. Though there are many issues, the main ones relate to traffic, flooding and housing – three problems with a clear link to infrastructure and to each other.Belatedly, a multitude of projects have been launched to address the problems, including the construction of a Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) rail line. The project’s first phase ought to be completed in 2019, and will link Lebak Bulus in the south-west to the Hotel Indonesia Roundabout in the city centre. The MRT is meant to reduce the number of cars on the roads, but sceptics urge caution – they are weary of big promises and spectacular failures like the Jakarta Monorail (started in 2004, abandoned in 2008, revived in 2013 and abandoned again in 2015, due to financial difficulties). While flooding tends to be a seasonal issue (the rainy season is around October to April), rising sea levels have made the problem more frequent and acute. There are even concerns that Jakarta is sinking, and that more than 40 per cent of the city is already underwater. Attempts to address the issue have included mass relocations that have been very unpopular with some residents, especially those mostly poor people who had close ties to the land and communities they were forced to leave. Housing issues are less well-known and more complex. Many of Jakarta’s middle class families are turning to high-rise living, with implications for how resources are used and putting further pressure on existing infrastructure. The availability of affordable housing is decreasing with rapid urban growth, particularly for the urban poor who find themselves increasingly pushed out to the margins of the city. Housing and population pressures also have a flow-on effect for the environment. For instance, almost 50 per cent of residents do not have access to piped water, instead relying on wells for their needs, which drains the local aquifer and further causes Jakarta to sink.

Indonesia to use Japan loans and private capital for $4.5bn railway Nikkei Asian Review 26th Apr 2018
Indonesia will seek funding from the Japanese government and private sector for a $4.5 billion railway project stretching across the island of Java. Basuki Hadimuljono, Minister of Public Works and Public Housing, told Nikkei on Friday that the project involved upgrading 750km of existing track on the Jakarta-Surabaya line and building around 300 flyovers at an estimated cost of 62 trillion rupiah ($4.46 billion), which will be financed by Japanese loans. Elements such as the construction of station buildings and surrounding facilities, on the other hand, will be developed through public-private partnership schemes.

Indonesia expected to drop 264t rupiah worth of infrastructure projects The Business Times 17th Apr 2018
Indonesia's chief economic minister said on Monday that 14 infrastructure projects, worth 264 trillion rupiah (S$25.1 billion), are expected to be dropped from the government's strategic development plan due to lack of progress. These projects will be dropped if they don't meet some requirements by the third quarter of 2019, Darmin Nasution said, which is the end of President Joko Widodo's current term.

Greater Jakarta Area to have Integrated Mass Transport System Tempo 30th Apr 2018
The government hopes to create fully integrated transport system in the Greater Jakarta area in 2023-2024 that could transport up to 5 million passengers a day. More roads are required in Jakarta from year to year , therefore, the requirement has to be met with adequate mass transport facilities, Transport Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said here when inspecting speed light rail transit (LRT) on Sunday. Budi said currently the government continued to build mass transport facilities like LRT, commuter trains and mass rapid transport(MRT) in the Greater Jakarta area. Based on evaluation by the government, the busiest access roads to Jakarta are Cibubur-Jakarta, Bekasi-Jakarta, and Bogor-Jakarta.

Govt to Continue 13 Port Construction Projects Tempo 28th Apr 2018
The Ministry of Transportation ensured ten to thirteen of 33 port construction projects listed in the budget period of 2009-2014 are still afoot. While the rest projects had been changed the functional and even several projects had been stopped due to the terrible planning and execution. “The central regulation should be stern. Until 2019, there are 306 planning projects, but the fiscal capacity is only 35 percent of the total need,” said the Ministry’s Inspector General Wahju Satrio Utomo, yesterday, April 27. Wahju explained the government will prepare several options so that the 33 port project constructions that cost Rp2.8 billion would not be in vain. He called on the regional government who willing to continue the project or shift the project’s function to contribute the effort by providing the land. The Ministry’s Sea Transportation Director General Agus H. Purnomo mentioned some regional governments have requested to continue the port project including Berau Regency (East Kalimantan), Pacitan Regency (East Java), and West Sumatra Province.

Transportation Ministry takes over KEK Sei Mangkei railway The Jakarta Post 17th Apr 2018
The Transportation Ministry signed an agreement on Tuesday with the Industry Ministry and state-owned plantation firm PTPN III to take over the operations of a newly constructed railway connecting the special economic zone (KEK) of Sei Mangkei with Perlanaan Station in Simalungun, North Sumatra.  The 2.95-kilometer railway is part of a 30-km track connecting KEK Sei Mangkei to Kuala Tanjung Port, which is being developed into one of the largest ports in the country. "With the agreement, we are responsible for maintaining the railway track to help improve operations at KEK Sei Mangkei," Transportation Ministry railway director general Zulfikri said after the signing ceremony in Jakarta.  Before the agreement, the railway was under the management of the special economic zone, while the PTPN III was the land owner. Under the deal, state-owned railway operator KAI will take over the railway’s operations.

Government slashes number of strategic projects The Jakarta Post 17th Apr 2018
The government has announced that it will slash the number of National Strategic Projects (PSN), mostly related to infrastructure, from 245 to 222. Coordinating Economic Minister Darmin Nasution said in Jakarta on Monday that certain projects could be maintained in the list of strategic projects because their construction could start in the third quarter of 2019. “We have invited related ministers to [check their] progress. If the ministers say the projects could not be implemented by Q3, 2019, it is the job of the next government to carry out evaluations,” Darmin said after a meeting on project evaluations at the State Palace. Darmin did not list all the projects that were dropped but mentioned several examples, including the railway track from Jambi to Palembang in South Sumatra, railway tracks in East Kalimantan, clean water facilities in North Sumatra, a dam in Pelosika in Central Sulawesi and a special economic zone (KEK) in Merauke, Papua.

State Construction Firm PP Sells Indonesia's First Perpetual Bonds Jakarta Globe 17th Apr 2018
State-owned construction firm PP launched a sale of perpetual bonds on Tuesday (17/04), aiming to raise Rp 1 trillion ($73 million) in the course of a year, a company executive said. The perpetual bond issuance is the first in Indonesia and marks another effort by state companies involved in infrastructure projects to raise funding through unconventional instruments. Companies such as toll road operator Jasa Marga and Wijaya Karya have raised funds through sales of the country's first ever London-listed, rupiah-denominated bonds. Jasa Marga also pioneered the sale of asset securitization in Indonesia last year.

Revised regulation to accommodate giant seawall project The Jakarta Post 16th Apr 2018
Coordinating Economic Minister Darmin Nasution has said the government is now revising Presidential Regulation (Perpres) No. 54/2008, which is, among others, to allow for the construction of a giant seawall. He said the revision, which was expected to be completed this year, was urgently needed because of increasingly complex problems resulting from fast changes in the economic, environmental and demographic conditions in the provinces of Jakarta, West Java and Banten. “The government has been long paying special attention to the Jabodetabekpunjur areas,” said Darmin in Jakarta on Monday, as reported by kotan.co.id, referring to an acronym for Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, Bekasi, Puncak and Cianjur. The revision of the regulation, officially known as Perpres Jabodetabekpunjur, was important because of the regions' large contributions to the national economy (19.93 percent), Darmin said, adding that their population growth was 2.9 percent annually with a land conversion rate of 32.06 percent from 2012 to 2015.

Laos

Deputy PM advises Vangvieng officials on tourism development Vientiane Times 1st May 2018
Vientiane provincial authorities should ensure that visitor attractions are safe and clean, as well as addressing any environmental issues, especially pollution, Deputy Prime Minister Dr Sonexay Siphandone advised local officials during a recent visit to Vangvieng district. Dr Sonexay focused on tourism issues in the province and encouraged authorities to cooperate with industry and commercial departments to avoid industrial or business expansion at the expense of tourism, making Vangvieng a district that was dedicated to tourism

High petrol prices fuel public transport changes Vientiane Times 30th Apr 2018
Vientiane State Bus Enterprise will raise the price of bus tickets across Vientiane due to constant price hikes in petrol, an official said on Friday. The Director of the Vientiane State Bus Enterprise, Mr Khamphoune Temerath told Vientiane Times on Friday that the some bus tickets that service Vientiane will be raised, with the new price implemented on May 01. The changes to the ticket pricing structure have come about due to the steady increases of price for petrol and diesel, with examples being April where the price of petrol jumped on at least two occasions.

Major upgrade slated for Sangthong-Paklai road Vientiane Times 23rd Apr 2018
Construction of the 104.89 km road upgrade linking Vientiane’s rural Sangthong district to Paklai district in Xayaboury province is expected to start in October. The road runs along the Mekong River from Namsang Bridge in Namsang village, Sangthong district, Vientiane, and then to Khokkhaodor Mountain in Xanakham district, Vientiane province and Paklai Bridge in Paklai district, in Xayaboury province, Project Director Mr Artnada Boulom told Vientiane Times yesterday.

ADB to assist infrastructure development in Vangvieng Vientiane Times 22nd Apr 2018
Asian Development Bank has agreed to assist infrastructure development in Vientiane province’s Vangvieng district, a top tourist destination in Laos.  Deputy Head of Vangvieng district office for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Phouvieng Sykaysone told Vientiane Times on Friday that improvements to infrastructure and facilities are aimed at attracting more tourists to the district. “The ADB has agreed to provide US$20 million to finance a number of infrastructure projects in the district, particularly road access to tourism sites,” Mr Phouvieng said.  

Malaysia

NAP2018 Will Soar Malaysia To Greater Economic Heights Malaysia Digest 26th Apr 2018
The National Automotive Policy (NAP) 2018 will drive the country’s economy, especially within the automotive industry, to greater heights with advancements in connected mobility and public transportation, according to caretaker Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. In ensuring the continuity of the policy’s implementation for future generations, Najib said the government will be guided under the TN50 vision and under the Barisan Nasional (BN) manifesto, he pledged to improve the public transport infrastructure by completing high-speed rail projects and better highways. MAI and Ministry of International Trade (MITI) have already began revising the previous automotive policy for NAP 2018, which encompasses four key pillars, namely new generation vehicles, mobility, the Industry 4.0 Revolution and artificial intelligence.

Malaysia plans to double airport capacity for 2 billion fliers in Asia The Straits Times 26th Apr 2018
Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd plans to double Kuala Lumpur International Airport's capacity as it seeks a bigger slice of the 2.1 billion more passengers expected in Asia Pacific in the next two decades. The company is looking to raise the capacity to 150 million, from the current 75 million, in the next 10 to 20 years, Raja Azmi Raja Nazuddin, chief financial officer of Malaysia Airports, said in an interview on the outskirts of the capital Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday (April 24). The main terminal could reach full capacity in the next two years, he said."We have started studies on the optimisation and expansion," Raja Azmi said, declining to comment on how much the plan will cost.

Malaysia to double airport capacity for 2b fliers in Asia The Business Times 26th Apr 2018
Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd plans to double Kuala Lumpur International Airport's capacity as it seeks a bigger slice of the 2.1 billion more passengers expected in Asia Pacific in the next two decades. The company is looking to raise the capacity to 150 million, from the current 75 million, in the next 10 to 20 years, Raja Azmi Raja Nazuddin, chief financial officer of Malaysia Airports, said in an interview on the outskirts of the capital Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday. The main terminal could reach full capacity in the next two years, he said."We have started studies on the optimisation and expansion," Raja Azmi said, declining to comment on how much the plan will cost. "The outcome will determine the configuration that we will have to take within a year or two."

Beijing-based AIIB keen to finance huge infrastructure projects in Malaysia The Star Online 19th Apr 2018
Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is enthusiastic to finance huge infrastructure projects in Malaysia, including the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) project, said Second Secretary of Chinese Embassy here, Dr Fang Tao. He said AIIB’s President, Jin Liqun, met Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at a recent Bank Negara Malaysia event and both of them expressed interests to cooperate in financing the infrastructure projects in the country. So far, AIIB has not made its presence felt in the Malaysian market, he said. “The embassy will be in close contact with AIIB to discuss how the bank can proceed and provide financial services to Malaysian companies or finance large infrastructure projects in Malaysia,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers Supply Chain Conference 2018 here today.

Malaysia to call for high-speed rail civil contracts next year The Straits Times 17th Apr 2018
Malaysia says it expects to call civil contract tenders for the Kuala-Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) project in the first half of next year. MyHSR Corp, Malaysia's umbrella group tasked with delivering the HSR project, said this in response to queries from The Straits Times, and a day after Singapore announced that it had called civil contract tenders for its end of the line. MyHSR said it recently selected its project delivery partners (PDP), comprising the MRCB-Gamuda and YTL-THP consortia.

Myanmar

Yangon deep-sea port brings hope in disappearing villages Frontier Myanmar 27th Apr 2018
About a dozen houses, mostly small bamboo huts, occupy the narrow strip of land between the riverbank and the sea wall that protects Taw Ka Luu village from the Yangon River, not far from where its muddy waters empty into the Gulf of Mottama The houses in the village, in Yangon’s outer southwestern Kungyangon Township, are under threat because the riverbank has been dramatically eroded by the tide. “These houses probably have to move inside the sea wall this year,” village administrator U Aung Tun Kyaw told Frontier on April 7. When villagers helped the Irrigation and Water Utilisation Management Department to build the sea wall five years ago it was at least 500 feet (152 metres) from the riverbank, Aung Tun Kyaw said.

Philippines

Taiwan eyes role in PH infra push Inquirer 30th Apr 2018
President Rodrigo Duterte may have heavily relied on mainland China for support for his “Build, Build, Build” program, but Taiwan also wants to take part in the massive infrastructure push. The Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office, which acts as its de facto embassy, has approached several Philippine government agencies to “find out exactly what the Philippines needs.”This was disclosed by Peter Shih, who negotiates with the Philippines for the Office of Trade Negotiations, to eight journalists from Indo-Pacific countries who were invited to Taiwan last week.

NEDA approves eight new infrastructure projects CNN Philippines 26th Apr 2018
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board approved this week a number of infrastructure projects, including the Subic-Clark Railway and an unsolicited proposal for a Bulacan International Airport. The following projects have been added to the government's infrastructure pipeline: Subic-Clark Railway Project under the Department of Transportation (DoTr) and Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) (estimated cost: P50.03 billion) Bulacan International Airport Project under the DOTr (estimated cost: P735.634 billion), an unsolicited proposal of diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. Clark International Airport Expansion Project-Operations and Maintenance Public-Private Partnership Concession under the BCDA (estimated capital expense: P5.61 billion) Ambal-Simuay River and Rio Grande de Mindanao River Flood Control under the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) (estimated cost: P39.2 billion) Pasig-Marikina River and Manggahan Floodway Bridges under the DPWH (estimated cost: P5.98 billion) Bridge Construction Acceleration Project for Socioeconomic Development under the DPWH (estimated cost: 11.369 billion) Rural Agro-Enterprise Partnership for Inclusive Development and Growth (RAPID Growth) Project under the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) (estimated cost of pilot phase: P4.78 billion) Davao Food Complex under the DTI and the National Development Co. (estimated cost: P1.086 billion)

After crackdown, Philippines plans fresh mining curbs Channel NewsAsia 23rd Apr 2018
The Philippines is planning to limit the amount of land that miners can develop at any one time to boost environmental rehabilitation, a move that miners say may cut output of nickel ore in last year's top supplier to China. The latest move will initially target the country's 30 nickel mines, which made up more than half of the country's 50 operating mines as of end-2017. But officials say it could eventually extend to other metals. Miners will be limited to a production area ranging from 50 to 162 hectares (124 to 400 acres) at any one time, depending on their size of production and whether they have a processing plant, according to the draft government order.

Indonesia’s Go-Jek eyes Philippine expansion, to meet transport regulator Deal Street Asia 20th Apr 2018
Indonesian ride-hailing and online payment company Go-Jek is looking to expand into the Philippines, Manila’s transport regulator said on Friday, just days after Uber Technologies Inc shut down its local business as part of its exit from Southeast Asia. Go-Jek executives have requested for a meeting with the regulator next week, Aileen Lizada, a board member at the transport regulator, told Reuters.

Philippines looks beyond China for public works Nikkei Asian Review 19th Apr 2018
The Philippines wants a balanced diet of aid for its massive infrastructure push, a key official told Nikkei, aiming to avoid an unhealthy dependence on a China moving to deepen its involvement in infrastructure throughout Southeast Asia. "We want to strengthen our partnership with all countries" in bringing about a "golden age of infrastructure," said Mark Villar, secretary of public works and highways. "Our main commitment is to deliver projects with speed and the highest quality, under the principle of sustainable fiscal management," Villar explained. The archipelago nation plans to pour about 8 trillion pesos ($153 billion) into trains, ports and other infrastructure under President Rodrigo Duterte's "Build, Build, Build" drive. The goal is to improve productivity, as Manila-area traffic costs the Philippines an estimated 2.4 billion pesos per day. Public works spending is expected to hit 7.3% of gross domestic product in 2022, up from last year's 5.4%. The country will make active use of public-private partnerships, Villar said.

Neda awaits DOTr okay of airport rehab project | BusinessMirror BusinessMirror 30th Apr 2018
The National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said on Monday that the interagency Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) could not yet proceed with the evaluation of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) rehabilitation project. Neda Undersecretary for Investment Programming Rolando G. Tungpalan told the BusinessMirror that the Department of Transportation (DOTr) has yet to grant the “original proponent status” to a firm that will undertake the rehabilitation of the Naia. The grant of OPS is needed before the ICC can start reviewing the project.

Infra, capital spending 32.4% higher in March The Manila Times 26th Apr 2018
Infrastructure and other capital spending climbed in March, the Budget department reported, with government resources said to have been used for roads, police stations and schools. Data released on Wednesday put spending at P63.4 billion during the month, up 32.4 percent from the P47.9 billion recorded a year earlier. “This is on account of the implementation of road infrastructure projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways, completed construction of police stations by the Department of the Interior and Local Government-Philippine National Police, and repairs and rehabilitation of school facilities as well as purchase of office supplies and furniture for various Department of Education schools nationwide,” the department said in a statement.

Philippines approves San Miguel's $14 bln airport project Reuters 25th Apr 2018
The Philippines on Wednesday approved a $14 billion airport project proposed by its largest company by revenue, San Miguel Corp, a facility that that should help ease congestion at the country’s main gateway in Manila. San Miguel has pursued an aggressive expansion since 2008 to bolster revenues, adding infrastructure, mining, petroleum and power assets to its staple food and beverage businesses.

Government spent higher for infrastructure, personnel services in January-March | BusinessMirror BusinessMirror 25th Apr 2018
ASIDE from infrastructure, the Duterte administration also spent more for personnel services in the first quarter, breaching government targets. In a statement, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said spending for personnel services reached 206.6 billion during the first quarter of the year, for a 23-percent increase year-on-year. Meanwhile, infrastructure spending grew by 34 percent to P157.1 billion. Actual disbursements, which surged by 27 percent to P782 billion, exceeded the P755.8-billion target by P26.2 billion, or 3.5 percent. “The outlook on government spending remains sanguine, and we expect government spending to prop up the growth prospects of the Philippine economy as we aim for economic expansion at the rate of 7 percent to 8 percent in the medium term,” Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno was quoted in a statement as saying. “We will not let up in our efforts to limit underspending and continue with the efficient and accountable management of public resources,” Diokno added.

China's ‘Silk Road’, seen to fund Philippine infrastructure, hits snags — report | Philstar.com philstar.com 17th Apr 2018
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte attended the China-sponsored “One Belt, One Road” Summit in Beijing last year, signalling Manila's interest in the multibillion-dollar fund earmarked by the Asian power for the infrastructure initiative aimed at linking Asia, Africa, and Europe. But there’s one problem: China’s ambitious plan to revive an ancient “Silk Road” is reportedly facing a serious financing obstacle, while attracting private investors to take part in the initiative remains a challenge. According to a report by the South China Morning Post dated April 16, funding infrastructure projects along countries in the Silk Road would be a hurdle, as these nations' debt levels are “far above recognized safety levels.”

Execution is biggest hurdle for ‘BBB’ plan BusinessMirror 16th Apr 2018
Execution “will be the decisive element” in the success of the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” (BBB) program, economic experts said at a recent forum organized by Stratbase Albert del Rosario Institute (ADRi) “The impetus for a massive infrastructure buildup is the country’s poor state of infrastructure, as evidenced by our poor performance in several global rankings,” said Dindo Manhit, president of Stratbase ADRi. “The Philippines is one of the lowest in terms of logistics performance, and the most problematic factor for doing business in the country is inadequate infrastructure supply.” Economist Dr. Alvin Ang presented his special study, “Financing Inclusive Infrastructure,” where he identified serious challenges that the government must overcome to deliver on the President’s infrastructure agenda.

Singapore

Goals: A more inclusive transport system The Independent 2nd May 2018
On Monday, an advisory panel submitted 22 recommendations to Senior Minister of State for Transport Dr Lam Pin Min on how to make Singapore’s transport system more family friendly and inclusive.Some of their proposed changes include ways to increase the ease of access for families and the elderly. They extend to installing user-friendly stroller restraint systems on public buses and introducing features that will make public buses more accessible for senior citizens. They are also looking for more family-friendly spaces to be created and have proposed that there should be more space for wheelchair users and open strollers, and possibly a quiet room at MRT stations, bus Interchanges and Integrated Transport Hubs for commuters with special needs.

3 start-ups eyeing share of Singapore's private-car hire market The Straits Times 27th Apr 2018
With the impending departure of Uber from Singapore, a trio of start-ups have announced plans to start their own private-hire car service, two of them as early as next week. Local car-pooling app Ryde will launch its RydeX private-hire car service next Wednesday, while the Singapore-based MVL (Mass Vehicle Ledger) Foundation aims to roll out its blockchain-based ride-booking concept at the end of July. Indian firm Jugnoo, which specialises in auto-rickshaw bookings, intends to make its foray into the private-hire car business on Tuesday with a Singapore launch.Their plans come amid talk of a possible tie-up between Indonesian ride-hailing firm Go-Jek and Singapore taxi giant ComfortDelGro.

Smart technologies to enhance Singapore's living environment The Business Times 26th Apr 2018
Singapore's Housing and Development Board (HDB) has accumulated more than 50 years of expertise and experience in planning, designing and building public housing.As the country's largest master planner and housing developer, HDB has to constantly push the frontiers of urban planning, and carry out extensive research and development to build sustainable and smart towns that create a better living environment for residents. In line with Singapore's Smart Nation vision to improve the quality of lives of Singaporeans through the use of digital technology and Big Data, HDB has been leveraging a suite of smart technologies to improve the planning, development and management of public housing.Complex decision-making modelling tools help HDB to select the most cost-effective and optimal initiatives for our towns to achieve sustainability goals. Over the years, HDB has built up its capabilities in urban environment modelling through the development of the Integrated Environmental Modeller (IEM), a modelling platform that integrates the urban planning and design process with environmental simulation.

S'pore can contribute to Asean's sustainability effort, says Heng The Straits Times 3rd May 2018
Singapore can promote green financing in the region given its stable finance regulatory environment, and help create a business culture of sustainable practices through its own experiences in the field, said Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat yesterday. There must be a collective Asean effort towards smart and sustainable development, to which Singapore can contribute, he said at the opening of the three-day Singapore Sustainability Symposium. "Sustainability innovations, technologies and practices that we develop here must have the relevance and scalability to be applied in different parts of the world," said Mr Heng. For example, the National Research Foundation's urban solutions and sustainability domain is focused on supporting ideas that enhance areas such as transport and liveable spaces. Mr Heng added that Singapore is well placed to promote green financing efforts in the region, citing the example of the Association of Banks in Singapore, which introduced guidelines for responsible financing in 2015. These guide banks to assess their clients' environmental, social and governance risks as part of credit evaluation processes.

Singapore to play a key role in Asia's infrastructure development The Business Times 2nd May 2018
WITH a current population of over 4.5 billion and investment in infrastructure needs of over US$600 billion in the coming decade, Asia is an attractive investment destination for global and regional infrastructure players. Given the strong correlation among GDP growth rate, employment generation and investment in infrastructure, it is imperative for governments to remove any hurdles in the delivery of world-class infrastructure services. In Asia, Singapore is a shining example of a country that has delivered on world-class infrastructure. It is renowned for its airport, ports, road network, housing, sanitation, and info-communications infrastructure. According to the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Index for 2017-2018, Singapore holds the second spot globally in the robustness of its infrastructure.

MPA awards S$1.46b deal for Phase 2 of mega Tuas Terminal TODAYonline 27th Apr 2018
More than three years after work on the first phase of the mega Tuas Terminal began, the authorities have awarded a billion-dollar reclamation project for the next phase to a joint venture made up of contractors from Japan, South Korea and the Netherlands. A consortium comprising Japan’s Penta-Ocean Construction Company, South Korea’s Hyundai Engineering & Construction Company and the Netherlands-based Boskalis International has bagged the S$1.46 billion project, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) announced on Wednesday (April 25). Works on the first phase, which began in February 2015, were awarded to a joint venture comprising Belgium’s Dredging International Asia Pacific, and Daelim from South Korea.

Singapore Announces Greater Project Financing Support | Lexology Lexology 23rd Apr 2018
Senior Minister of State Indranee Rajah S.C. stated during the Committee of Supply Debate 2018 that an estimated $26 trillion may be spent on infrastructure projects in Asia. But these projects are unable to obtain financing “due to lack of bankability, usually occasioned by the lack of proper project preparation, project structuring and technical issues.” Singapore is well placed to fill this gap in project financing in Asia. As noted by the senior minister of state, Singapore has numerous commercial banks with project finance teams and project structuring expertise. Some of these banks already are Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs) recognized by IE Singapore’s Internationalization Finance Scheme (IFS). The IFS helps Singapore-based companies expanding abroad to obtain financing by sharing the risk of default between IE Singapore and the PFIs, which provides the financing facility.

Thailand

Bangkok-Nong Khai railway link details firm Bangkok Post 30th Apr 2018
Details about setting up the agency to manage the Thai-Chinese high-speed railway from Bangkok to Nong Khai are close to completion, says Deputy Transport Minister Pailin Chuchottaworn. Financial advisers are scheduled to report back to the ministry on what type of business structure the agency should adopt by next month. "The agency must be established within the year, since construction for the Thai-Chinese high-speed railway has already begun," Mr Pailin said. "This signifies that steps to set the agency up are already behind schedule." The deputy minister added that commercial banks were commissioned to carry out research for the agency's business structure because such companies are already well-grounded in the financial field and should be capable of coming up with the best option.

New train network still a few years away Bangkok Post 1st May 2018
Construction could begin as soon as 2022 on new public transport networks under the second master plan of developing the mass transit system in Bangkok and its metropolitan area, Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said Monday. The minister made the comments after a seminar run by the Transport Ministry and Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica). Jica is now conducting feasibility studies for the master plan.

New Songkhla to border motorway planned Bangkok Post 25th Apr 2018
The Transport Ministry plans to call bids early next year for the construction of a 62km motorway to the Malaysian border in Songkhla province, for completion in 2022. The motorway, estimated cost about 57 billion baht, will stretch from an intersection with the Phetkasem Highway in Bang Klam district to the border checkpoint in Sadao. It will connect to Hat Yai airport and southern industrial parks. The ministry held a meeting on Wednesday to gather opinions from the private sector on the multi-billion-baht project. The contractor will get a 30-year concession for the motorway's operation.

U-tapao getting satellites Bangkok Post 24th Apr 2018
The Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (Gistda), the state space organisation, plans to team up with France's Airbus to bring satellite technology to U-tapao airport and make it the airfreight hub of Southeast Asia. Kanit Sangsubhan, secretary-general of Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Office, said Gistda and Airbus plan to create phase two of the Thailand Earth Observation Satellite (TEOS) with an investment of 7.8 billion baht.

Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang see sharp rise in arrivals during Songkran The Nation 22nd Apr 2018
The number of air passengers at the Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports grew significantly during the Songkran holidays when compared with the same period last year. Immigration Bureau deputy spokesman Pol Colonel Choengron Rimpadee said on Sunday that 683,260 passengers arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport from April 12 and 16.  “The number marks a 6.96 per cent increase from Songkran 2017,” he said. 

Chinese investors keen on Thai airport investment Bangkok Post 22nd Apr 2018
Investors from China have shown interest in investing in the upgrade of three small airports in Thailand, the Airport Department chief says. Department director-general Darun Saengchai named the airports in Buri Ram, Phetchabun and Nakhon Ratchasima as the targets for Chinese companies, Post Today reported on Sunday. The official did not give details on the Chinese investors, only saying that they included Chinese airline firms, real estate developers and state enterprises.

Thai and foreign tourists up during Songkran Bangkok Post 19th Apr 2018
Up to 506,136 foreigners visited Thailand during Songkran, generating 24.65 billion baht in tourism income, up 6.2% and 16% respectively from the year-earlier period, says the Tourism and Sports Ministry. The festival, which ran April 12 to 16, spurred as many as 3.1 million trips by local people that helped contribute 10.4 billion baht in tourism income, up 12.4% and 20.5% from last year's holiday, according to Pongpanu Svetarundra, permanent secretary of the ministry.

UPDATE 1-Thai March tourist arrivals up 16.27 pct y/y - tourism... U.S. 18th Apr 2018
BANGKOK, April 18 (Reuters) - Tourist arrivals in Thailand surged 16.27 percent in March from a year earlier, led by visitors from China, the tourism ministry said on Wednesday. Thailand welcomed 3.5 million foreign visitors last month, the ministry said in a press release. Tourism accounts for around 12 percent of Thailand’s gross domestic product. The country expects to see a record 37.6 million tourists this year, up from 35.38 million last year.

Vietnam

Vietnam vows to build smart cities despite huge challenges Vietnam Net Bridge 2nd May 2018
According to the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC), the biggest problem is that technical infrastructure cannot catch up with rapid urban development, causing traffic jams, lack of running water, flooding and pollution. Smart cities will also require huge IT (information technology) human resources, which Vietnam is short of. VietnamWorks estimates that with the current 8 percent workforce growth rate, the country will lack 78,000 IT staff a year and 500,000 by 2020. The ISO set of standards for smart city has 18 indicators in six areas: intelligent people, intelligent economy, smart living environment, intelligent digital government, smart life and smart communication. However, Vietnam still has not set up national standards for smart cities that fit specific cultural, social and economic characteristics. In Vietnam, a smart city is generally understood only as "the use of IT at a high level to improve the quality of people’s life".

North-South Expressway requires public-private partnership: WB Vietnam Net Bridge 2nd May 2018
Focusing on legislation and involvement of the public and private sectors are a driving force for attracting investment in transport projects, including the North-South Expressway project, said Transport Deputy Minister Nguyễn Ngọc Đông at a workshop wher World Bank experts and officials of related ministries discussed the implementation plan of the project. Speaking at the workshop on April 26, Đông said that a key challenge in infrastructure development in Việt Nam is that the country’s public investment on infrastructure only meets 25 to 30 per cent of demand. The Vietnamese Government is now calling for the involvement of private companies in transport projects under public-private partnership. The North-South Expressway project has faced many challenges relating to inefficient and unsynchronised legal frameworks, and difficulties related to long-term credit. In particular, the law on public-private partnership investment has yet to be enforced, he said.

Aviation market grows as infrastructure construction lags behind Vietnam Net Bridge 26th Apr 2018
Due to limited infrastructure capacity, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) has had to set limitations on the number of airplanes that air transportation firms can purchase. In 2016-2020 period, for example, airlines are allowed to buy 230 more aircraft, which is much lower than the number of orders air carriers have placed with aircraft manufacturers. The fact that the watchdog agency has to restrict the number of aircraft is blamed on the tardiness in expanding Tan Son Nhat Airport and the slow implementation of the proposed Long Thanh Airport project as well as ineffective exploitation of local airports.

VN’s waterway logistics in deep trouble vietnamnews.vn 23rd Apr 2018
Việt Nam’s maritime and inland waterway transport continue to suffer from the lack of sustainable inland ports and planning for container depots. They’re also plagued by limited connecting modes of transport and high logistics costs that reduce their potential for market expansion and customer access. Most recently, Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyễn Nhật admitted that the country’s inland waterway transport system still relies heavily on naturally occurring navigable bodies of water, seeing how the State budget is not sufficient to dredge the necessary canals and channels to accommodate heavier shipping watercrafts. Speaking at a national logistics conference last week, Nhật said that the domestic maritime industry already spends millions of dollars each year on dredging at rivers and estuaries, so they’re left without the capital needed to explore newer options.