New initiative to help local SMEs | Borneo Bulletin Online Borneo Bulletin 19th Jan 2019
STANDARD Chartered Bank launched its enhanced business banking proposition at the Sejahatera Conference room 1 and 2 of the Royal Brunei Recreation Club yesterday. The proposition aims at assisting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to drive commerce in Brunei Darussalam. “We are aware that SMEs are a critical force in the global economy and Brunei, driving innovation, economic development and job creation,” said Country Head of Global Banking Pengiran Aki Ismasufian bin Pengiran Haji Ibrahim. “Over 90 per cent of the world’s businesses are MSMEs and are responsible for 80 per cent of newly created jobs in emerging markets. In Brunei, SMEs contribute over 50 per cent of employment in the private sector and over 1/3 of nations GDP.”
Sluggish demand, tighter loan approvals weigh on Brunei property market Xinhua 7th Jan 2019
More stringent requirements for bank loans and lack of demand are bringing down prices of residential properties in Brunei, said players in the industry. According to a recent report by Autoriti Monetari Brunei Darussalam (AMBD), the sultanate's Residential Property Price Index (RPPI) for the third quarter of 2018 decreased 5.7 percent year-on-year to 85.5. On a quarter by quarter basis, it went down 5.7 percent from the second quarter of 2018. AMBD also said the median purchase price for all residential properties in the quarter was 250,000 Brunei dollars (183,000 U.S. dollars). The index assesses real estate market conditions and tracks changes in the average price level of residential properties in all four districts of Brunei.
Infrastructure spending remains strong in Brunei | Borneo Bulletin Online Borneo Bulletin 26th Dec 2018
ROBUST domestic demand continues to drive growth in the sub-region, with infrastructure spending remaining strong in Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand but showing a decline in Malaysia, the Asia Development Bank (ADB) said in a supplement to its Asian Development Outlook 2018 Update released recently. The growth forecast for Southeast Asia remains at 5.1 per cent for 2018, assuming robust consumption and infrastructure investment. Adjustments for Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand have lowered the 2019 outlook by 0.1 percentage points to 5.1 per cent. No GDP growth figures were available for Brunei Darussalam.
Cambodian infrastructure focus of pacts Ecns 23rd Jan 2019
Eight cooperative agreements were signed between China and Cambodia on Tuesday to promote cooperation in the Belt and Road Initiative and infrastructure, including water supply, highways and reservoir construction. The signing ceremony was witnessed by Premier Li Keqiang and visiting Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen. Before the ceremony, the two leaders had talks at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. China will firmly support Cambodia on its path in line with its own national conditions, and better align the BRI with the country's development strategies, Li said. Chinese companies are supported in their participation in Cambodia's infrastructure construction and operation in areas such as transportation, power generation and production capacity, he said. Li called on the neighboring country to provide necessary assistance.
Cambodia breaks ground for construction of China-funded road Xinhua 14th Jan 2019
Cambodia on Monday broke ground for the construction of the third ring road encircling capital Phnom Penh under the concessional loan from China. Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen and Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Wang Wentian presided over the ceremony, which was attended by more than 10,000 people. The 47.6-km road, along with four flyovers and eleven bridges, will be constructed under the preferential buyer's credit loan from the Chinese government. Shanghai Construction (Group) General Company will undertake the construction, which is expected to be completed in 42 months, Hun Sen said. The four-lane road will connect National Road No. 4 in Chaom Chau 3 commune in southwestern Phnom Penh with National Road No. 1 in Kandal province's Kien Svay district in the eastern part of Phnom Penh.
Cambodia: new airports needed for projected tourist boom CAPA - Centre for Aviation 7th Jan 2019
France’s Vinci Airports has long had a connection with Cambodia through concessions at three of the main airports. Now the Cambodian Prime Minister, Hun Sen, has cast doubt on the efficacy of those airports, insisting that new ones need to be built, and one is actually underway. Hun Sen has stated that Cambodia's existing three international airports are not expected to be able to accommodate traffic demand by 2025, with international passengers forecast to increase from six million to 12 million per annum. The vast majority of visitors are from China and neighbouring countries, with the U.S. providing the largest western contingent (257,000 in 2017, 4.6%). But the times are changing and now it seems as if it will be Chinese firms, rather than European ones, which will be at the forefront of the drive to improve Cambodia’s aviation infrastructure. In Dec-2016 the government selected China’s Yunnan Investment Holdings Limited as the principal developer of Siem Reap.
Can solar diplomacy green the Belt and Road? China Dialogue 24th Jan 2019
China has pledged to fill the global infrastructure development gap with more than US$4 trillion in “sustainable” projects through its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). But China is not delivering on its promises of green and low carbon infrastructure so the initiative is facing a crisis of legitimacy. According to a recent report from the World Resources Institute, about 75% of the US$145 billion in loans from China’s major financing institutions went to fossil fuel energy projects, including US$10 billion for coal plants. The report also outlined how almost all investments in the construction of fossil-fuel power were state-owned enterprises. In contrast, private Chinese companies, which have much smaller investment footprints, have focused on solar and wind.
Southeast Asia 'smart cities' redesign roads and grids with Japan Nikkei Asian Review 1st Jan 2019
Food & Agriculture
Japan will help build "smart cities" across Southeast Asia, using artificial intelligence and networked devices to tackle problems like road congestion and energy conservation. The 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have drawn up a framework to develop environmentally friendly smart cities and have selected 26 locations for the program. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged support for the program at an ASEAN summit in November. Tokyo intends to host a meeting with Southeast Asian nation officials as early as October to hammer out details of the cooperation. Support for Asian smart cities forms part of Japan's effort to provide an alternative to China's Belt and Road infrastructure initiative. Beijing has mobilized billions of dollars in loans for port and rail projects in developing Asian nations, but Tokyo takes a different approach, touting "quality" infrastructure assistance as a way to help countries build sustainable economic growth.
Only 11 percent of paddy fields receive dam water: President Antara News 14th Jan 2019
President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has stated that the government will continue to build dams to irrigate paddy fields since the existing dams can irrigate only 11 percent, or 780 thousand hectares, of paddy fields. "However, after the construction of 58 dams is completed, the number will jump to 20 percent. It is very small. Hence, more dams are still needed to irrigate our farmers` paddy fields," he noted at the President`s Vision broadcast by a private television station on Sunday night. Eight of the 58 dams that have been completed comprise the Raknamo and Rotiklot dams in East Nusa Tenggara and the Tanju and Bendungan Mila dams in West Nusa Tenggara. According to the Central Statistics Agency, the area of paddy fields stood at 7.1 million hectares in 2018, down from 7.75 million hectares a year earlier.
Indonesia Signs Transportation Agreement with East Timor Tempo 22nd Jan 2019
Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Timor Leste's Minister of Transportation and Communication Jose Agustinho Da Silva. The deal aims at improving Indonesian and Timor Leste airlines. Budi Karya believes the cooperation can encourage economic, trade and tourism growth between the two countries. "This meeting is expected to further encourage economic growth and the quality of human resources both in Indonesia and Timor Leste," Budi said in a written statement Monday, January 21. Budi said that if there is a future growth in the market demand, the transportation capacity of the two countries, the governments will consider further improvement efforts.
Two Train Routes will Connect Kertajati Airport Tempo 19th Jan 2019
Minister of Transportation, Budi Karya Sumadi, said train routes of Bandung-Garut and Cianjur-Bandung will be forwarded to Kertajati Airportfor accessibility support. He targets the two train routes will be reactivated this year. “These routes will be forwarded to Kertajati Airport. As we know, train is one of the favored transportations chosen by the people; [since it is] cheap, no pollution and on time,” said budi as quoted from the written statement received by Tempo, on Friday January 18. State railway company KAI will fund the Bandung-Garut route, while the Cianjur-Bandung route will be funded by the Ministry of Transportation.
Indonesia to focus on Shariah financing to fund infrastructure projects in 2019 Gulf-Times 8th Jan 2019
Indonesia will dip further into Islamic sovereign bond sales this year to fund infrastructure projects, relying less on global investors and expediting a deepening of its financial markets. The finance ministry expects to use 28.43tn rupiah ($1.96bn) of 2019 sukuk proceeds to build 619 projects encompassing roads, ports, airports, railways, and marriage halls, director general of Budget Financing and Risk Management Luky Alfirman said last month. Last year’s sukuk projects are expected to reach 22.53tn rupiah. “We want to bring alternatives to state budget financing and deepen the Shariah financial market,” Alfirman told a forum in Jakarta on December 21. The Islamic bond market in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation is lagging behind neighbouring Malaysia. With Muslims making up almost 90% of the population, the size of Shariah-compliant bonds will account for about 25% to 30% of the gross borrowing set for this year.
World Bank clarifies report on Indonesian infrastructure The Jakarta Post 3rd Jan 2019
Following the current public discussion of one of its reports about Indonesia's infrastructure plan, the World Bank (WB) has made a clarification saying that the report was outdated and should not be referred to regarding the current infrastructure development. The bank says the circulated report was finalized in 2014 before President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo took office and was directed to outline the circumstances of infrastructure planning and budgeting processes in the country during that period. “[The report was] intended for internal World Bank use only and uploaded by clerical mistake in one of our websites in June 2018,” the WB says in a statement published on its official website. The report has been unused because it does not include the substantial reforms and some new policies that President Jokowi's administration has carried out since the report's completion, according to the bank.
AIIB's investment in Indonesia brings more benefits CGTN 16th Jan 2019
Three years ago, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) began investing in Indonesia in hopes to improve the country's social and economic welfare. Throughout the years, those investments have proven to be beneficial, not only to its economy but also to its people by bringing about massive changes in their lives. Indonesia remains the second-largest borrower of the AIIB among its 66 members. In the past three years, the bank has invested a total of 691 million U.S. dollars in five infrastructure projects, some of which include modernizing the country's irrigation system. This will help to advance Indonesia's agriculture, one of the backbones of the country's economy. Other projects include helping millions of people out of slum areas and developing tourism infrastructure in Lombok Island, helping to achieve the Indonesian government's goal of creating more tourist islands aside from the popular island of Bali.
Year Ender - Infrastructure development key to strengthening connectivity, unity Antara News 29th Dec 2018
The Joko Widodo (Jokowi) - M. Jusuf Kalla administration has intensified infrastructure development across Indonesia during their first four-year term, starting October 2014, as the projects are expected to strengthen connectivity, economic growth, and national unity. Seeking a second term in office, incumbent Jokowi pledged that the government will next focus on making massive investment in human capital development to produce high-quality and competent human resources. The human resources development program, however, will be in synergy with other programs, including with physical infrastructure projects and technology innovation program. Hence, the government continues to allocate funds amounting to Rp400 trillion in the State Budget for the development of infrastructure in 2019, despite shifting its focus to the development of human resources.
Ministry aims for double-track rail link from Nakhon Ratchasima to Laos Bangkok Post 23rd Dec 2018
The Transport Ministry plans to develop a double-track railway project linking Nakhon Ratchasima and Laos' Pakse, minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith says. Mr Arkhom said the ministry is speeding up the process of sending the project to cabinet for consideration. The project was brought up following the recent joint cabinet retreat between the Thai and Lao governments, which agreed that a feasibility study of a new rail route from Thailand to Laos should be carried out. The planned rail route passes through Ubon Ratchathani.
Govt approves special budget for flood recovery Vientiane Times 10th Jan 2019
The government has approved a special budget of 500 billion kip (US$58 million) to repair public infrastructure that was damaged in last year’s floods, indicating that the remaining recovery work could soon begin. The Ministry of Planning and Investment unveiled the approved budget at the annual conference of the finance-planning sector held in Vientiane earlier this week. The meeting served as a platform to inform planning and finance officials about the details of the budget for 2019.
1.2 Trillion Kip Needed For Road Renovation KPL: Lao News Agency 3rd Jan 2019
The Department of Bridges and Roads has said it needs 1,200 billion kip to implement 20 projects and 148 contracts on road repair and construction nationwide. Of the needed funding, 869 billion kip is needed for road repair and renovation, 251 billion kip for road upgrading, and 93 billion kip for the installation of road drainage and protective facilities.
Malaysia seeks new contractor for East Coast Rail Link The Star Online 23rd Jan 2019
Malaysia is seeking a new contractor to build the East Coast Railway Link (ECRL), after terminating the original contract awarded to China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) on Tuesday (Jan 22), a source told The Straits Times. It is understood that the government is seeking to halve the estimated project cost of RM81 billion (S$27 billion) to RM40 billion. Work on the 688km railway line linking the east and west coasts of Peninsular Malaysia has been suspended since last July, as part of the new Pakatan Harapan administration's review of large-scale infrastructure projects after the coalition won the elections in May. Negotiations to reduce the project cost - initially pegged at RM55 billion when the plans were launched in November 2016 - have continued with CCCC since then, with government adviser Daim Zainuddin leading the talks.
Malaysia keen to invest in infrastructure, housing The Express Tribune 19th Jan 2019
Malaysia is interested in investing in infrastructure, housing and telecommunication sectors of Pakistan and both countries need to widen bilateral trade, which stood at $1.34 billion in 2017. Malaysian Ministry of Primary Industries Deputy Minister Shamsul Iskandar bin Mohammad stated this at a press conference on Saturday. Presenting the opportunities, he suggested that Pakistani businessmen could export meat to Malaysia right after obtaining Halal and hygiene certificates. “Pakistan has been an important customer of Malaysian palm oil since the 1970s; this relationship has been translated into trade and investment cooperation,” the deputy minister said.
Hastening rural development through better infrastructure BorneoPost Online 13th Jan 2019
THE provision of better rural infrastructure is now being given greater emphasis under Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS). This was evident in Sarawak’s Budget 2019, where RM6.049 billion or 67 per cent of the RM9.073 billion allocation for development expenditure will go to the development of rural areas. Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, when presenting the budget during the State Legislative Assembly sitting on Nov 5 last year, kept to his word of coming up with a rural development-biased budget. The RM9.073 billion allocated for development expenditure is also the biggest in the history of Sarawak, since the previous budgets for 2017 and 2018 allocated RM2.982 billion and RM3.062 billion respectively.
Cancelled or postponed infrastructure projects due to budget constraints | EdgeProp.my Edge Prop 29th Dec 2018
The MRT Circle line (Line 3), The East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), Trans Sabah Gas Pipeline (TSGP), KL-Singapore High Speed Rail and the Sistem Kawalan Imigresen Nasional (SKIN). All scrapped or postponed due to issues with the costs. To quote Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, speaking of President Xi Jinping and other leaders during his five day visit to China in August: "They know we cannot this. "China knows very well that it had to deal with unequal treaties in the past imposed by Western powers ...so China should be sympathetic to us." RM1 trillion in debt was inherited from the previous administration, which forced the review of the mega infrastructure projects, but also to blame was the fact that there were "strange" debt-funded contracts.
Loke: 'Railway Diplomacy' with China will boost Malaysia's rail industry the star online 3rd Jan 2019
BATU GAJAH: Malaysia could potentially be a main producer of railway equipment with stronger collaborations with China, says Anthony Loke.
Bridge project expected to boost China-Myanmar trade The Myanmar Times 10th Jan 2019
The construction of a new road and bridge near the existing Goke Hteik railway viaduct in western Shan State will begin this year, the Ministry of Construction has announced. The major infrastructure project along the Mandalay-Muse road, a significant border-trade route, is expected to significantly boost the transportation of goods between China and Myanmar once it is completed. The Gote Twin section of the road between Nawngcho and Goke Hteik, along the Mandalay-Muse road, was built during colonial times and the rail bridge on the route is now over 100 years old. The road is also narrow and has many curves and turns. Currently, trucks can take up to three hours to travel the Goke Twin stretch. During the rainy season, trucks can skid and cause traffic jams, said U Sai Kyaw, general secretary of Rice Merchants Association of Mandalay, adding that the stretch is one of the areas that see the highest number of accidents in western Shan State.
AirAsia still planning to enter Myanmar The Myanmar Times 10th Jan 2019
Low-cost airline AirAsia remains committed to expanding into Myanmar as part of its regional strategy in Indo-China, Riad Asmat, the firm’s CEO, said. “Indo-China is still very untouched in terms of the possibilities for AirAsia. That includes Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia. For example, we currently fly around seven destinations and 13 routes. We want to explore more for the right destinations and the right airports in 2019. Exploring and expanding into Indo-China is our goal,” he said. According to the Malaysian airline, it claimed about 48 percent market share in Myanmar and ran a total of 113,113 flights from January 1 to October 31 between the two ASEAN member states. Mr Asmat’s latest comments is good news for Myanmar.
Bridge project stirs property prices in Dala The Myanmar Times 7th Jan 2019
Property prices in Dala Township are rising after construction of a bridge linking Dala to downtown Yangon was finally given the green light on December 24, 2018 after six years of deliberation. Expected to be completed in three and a half years, the US$138 million South Korea-Myanmar Friendship Bridge, will connect Phone Gyi Street, in Lanmadaw Township, Yangon and Bo Min Yaung Street in Dala Township, making travel between Dala and downtown Yangon much easier. First announced in 2012, under the U Thein Sein government, the project was suspended due to issues involving land and bridge measurements. As a result, Dala had been left behind in terms of development compared to Yangon. Now though, locals expect more progress will come to Dala after the bridge is completed and property prices near Dala are already rising, say real estate agents.
New Thanlyin bridge project gets go-ahead The Myanmar Times 4th Jan 2019
The acceptance of a loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) which will be used for the construction of a second bridge across the Bago River connecting Thanlyin and Yangon has been approved, said a Pyithu Hluttaw MP U Lwin Ko Latt. The first instalment on the JICA loan totals US$36 million (K56.1 billion). “The budget for the new bridge has been approved following the signing of the agreement for the project in July 2017. Now we have received the first instalment worth of K56 billion. The next instalments will follow annually,” he said.
Better infra to catapult Philippines into top economies by 2033 — report | Philstar.com philstar.com 27th Dec 2018
Overhauling the Philippines’ outdated infrastructure could catapult the nation into the league of the world’s largest economies in the next 15 years, a London-based consultancy said. The Philippine economy is predicted to rank 22nd by 2033 in terms of gross domestic product, according to the latest 193-nation World Economic League Table published by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) on Wednesday. Before securing the 22nd spot in 2033, CEBR forecasts the Philippines to rank 40th this year, 39th in 2019, 28th in 2023 and 25th in 2028. Compared to its peers in Southeast Asia, the Philippines is projected to outgrow Malaysia (25th), Vietnam (30th), Singapore (40th), Myanmar (61st), Cambodia (99th), Lao PDR (105th) and Brunei (133rd) in 2033.
Filinvest-JG consortium inks O&M deal for Clark | BusinessWorld Business World 22nd Jan 2019
THE North Luzon Airport Consortium (NLAC), which includes companies owned by the Gokongwei and Gotianun families, on Tuesday signed concession agreement to operate and maintain the Clark International Airport for 25 years. In separate disclosures, Filinvest Development Corp. and JG Summit Holdings, Inc. said NLAC inked the deal with the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) at the Shangri-La at The Fort in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.
Hanging bridge eyed for Rockwell – MMDA | Philstar.com Philstar Global 20th Jan 2019
As thousands of pedestrians are affected by the 30-month closure of the Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge, better known as Rockwell Bridge, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is studying whether to build a hanging bridge for them, an official said yesterday. Jojo Garcia, general manager of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, said MMDA officials asked the DPWH if it could build a hanging bridge to reduce the inconvenience caused by the closure of the Rockwell Bridge to pedestrians. DPWH officials “are considering the hanging bridge” and are studying whether it can be done and if it would be safe, he said.
Government to Formalize China, Japan Loans for Infrastructure PhilStar Global 16th Jan 2019
The Philippines is expected to sign three loan agreements with Japan and another two with China within the first quarter for the implementation of big-ticket infrastructure projects in the country, the Department of Finance (DOF) said yesterday. In an interview, Finance Undersecretary Mark Dennis Joven said the DOF is looking forward to signing with Japan the Y167.199 billion (P79.69 billion) loan agreement for the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) Extension Project, and the Y37.905 billion (P18.61 billion) loan for the Pasig-Marikina River Channel Improvement Project Phase IV within the first quarter.
Projects funded by DPWH augmented budget are undergoing House vetting | BusinessWorld Business World 15th Jan 2019
THE House Rules Committee on Tuesday was told that projects funded by the P75-billion augmentation to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) budget for 2019 are only now undergoing the vetting process. “Again the additional P75 billion. The projects were not part of the submission of the DPWH, and are only now undergoing vetting because we only saw the projects in the NEP (National Expenditure Program),” Undersecretary Maria Catalina E. Cabral told the panel. “The vetting process now is being done by our field offices, including those that are not included in the P480-billion,” she added.
NG allots P4.71 trillion for TRIP infrastructure program in next three years BusinessMirror 15th Jan 2019
The national government intends to spend some P4.71 trillion in the next three years for ongoing and new projects identified under the three-year rolling infrastructure plan (TRIP).
Bulacan water project starts commercial operations | BusinessWorld Business World 13th Jan 2019
THE P24.4-billion Bulacan bulk water supply project will start commercial operations on Monday, making it the first major water project to be completed under the current administration. The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) said the scheduled launch marks the first stage of the project, which will initially bring potable water to four municipalities of Bulacan. “While the Bulacan Bulk water project was started by the Aquino administration in 2012, it is the first major water project to be completed during Duterte’s term,” MWSS Administrator Reynaldo V. Velasco said in a statement during the weekend.
Clark Airport concession holder to invest P6 billion | BusinessWorld Business World 7th Jan 2019
THE North Luzon Airport Corp. (NLAC) said it is investing about P6 billion to fit out the new terminal at Clark International Airport, bringing it up to an annual capacity of eight million passengers. NLAC was the winning bidder for the operation and maintenance concession of Clark International Airport. The consortium is composed of Filinvest Development Corp., JG Summit Holdings Inc, Philippine Airport Ground Support Solutions Inc and Changi Airport Philippines (I) Pte. Ltd. (CAP). CAP is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Singapore’s Changi Airports International.
DPWH bares massive destruction to road infra in Bicol and Southern Tagalog after typhoon BusinessMirror 4th Jan 2019
AS of 12 noon on January 3, 2019, five national roads remain impassable to all types of vehicles due to road cut, landslide, and damaged bridge structure and approach brought by Tropical Depression Usman. The Department of Public Works and Highways Bureau of Maintenance (DPWH-BOM) reported that concerned DPWH field offices are still clearing closed roads which include: Marikina-Infanta Road, K0114+838 in Barangay Magsaysay, Infanta, Quezon, due to road cut; DM Junction. Legazpi-Santo Domingo-Tabaco-Camarines Sur Boundary Road sections K0579+000, K579+100, K579+600, K579+920, K579+960, in Barangays Maynonong, Dapdap, Mayong in Tiwi, Albay, due to landslide; Buyo Bridge 2, Legazpi City-Punta de Jesus Road, Molabago Area in Albay, due to damaged bridge approach and flood-control structures.
Govt ramps up infra projects to unclog congested roads, ports BusinessMirror 2nd Jan 2019
After all the merry-making, laughter, and gifts, comes the horrendous traffic—a chronic disease, which many a government has tried, but failed, to cure. Despite this stark reality—something that experts have previously said would be the norm in the coming years, if drastic interventions would not be put in place—signs of improvement have so far sprouted, thanks to a number of policy reforms. It will, however, take a few more years before the government could finally unclog the heavily congested arteries of the Philippines.
Panguil Bay Bridge, to be PHL’s longest, breaks ground | BusinessWorld Business World 2nd Jan 2019
THE Panguil Bay Bridge Project, to be financed through official development assistance from South Korea, broke ground yesterday, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez announced. The project, with an original budget of P4.9 billion, is a 3.48-kilometer, two lane bridge that will connect the city of Tangub in Misamis Occidental to the town of Tubod, the capital of Lanao del Norte. It is intended to cut travel time between Tangub City and Tubod to seven minutes from the current 2.5 hours. It will also shorten trips from the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan to Tangub as well as the Zamboanga Peninsula Region. The $100.13-million loan for the project was obtained from the Export-Import Bank of Korea (Korea Eximbank) in 2016. It is under a loan agreement with the Korean Economic Development Cooperation Fund. “The package of infrastructure projects in this area (Mindanao) includes irrigation systems, extensive road networks, construction and rehabilitation of key regional airports, long-span bridges and the Mindanao Railway project that will help dramatically enhance regional connectivity, reduce the cost of moving goods and people across long distances and spur economic activity for this part of the country,” Mr. Dominguez said during the Sulong sa Pilipinas-Philippine Development Forum in Davao City on Nov. 28. Once completed, the Panguil Bridge will be the country’s longest, beating the current one, the 2.2-kilometer San Juanico Bridge that connects the islands of Samar and Leyte.
Philippine Airlines urges government to create airport hubs | Philstar.com Philippine Star 1st Jan 2019
MANILA, Philippines — Flag carrier Philippine Airlines has asked the government to develop airport hubs to help make the country’s aviation and tourism sectors more competitive than its regional counterparts. “We’ve seen how our government and the private sector operators are helping to improve our departure and arrival terminals all over the country. We would like to see as well emphasis placed on creating actual airport hubs,” PAL corporate communication vice president Jose Perez de Tagle said. “When I say this, I’m talking about passengers come in from international airports, from foreign countries who visit the Philippines or balikbayans coming home, and we would have to provide them with seamless travel experience,” he said. De Tagle said the mindset should not be just about having the passengers arrive in the country, but it should also be to connect them easily, smoothly, and seamlessly between one flight to another.
Building smart for the future The Business Times 24th Jan 2019
AUSTRALIA and Singapore, both developed countries, share many similarities and opportunities for collaboration to develop and advance the built environment sector, as new challenges arise from global economic and social change. "In many ways, the challenges facing our economies, and those of the region are ones that need the best built environment solutions," says Australian High Commissioner Bruce Gosper. He also acknowledges the need to leverage expertise from emerging technology such as cleantech, property tech, data analytics and Internet of Things (IoT), geospatial services and mapping and sensor development to support the industry too. "Infrastructure and major construction can increase productivity, but increasingly we are seeing the integration of digital infrastructure and the built environment driving growth in key sectors," he adds.
Sharing Singapore's smart-city experience The Straits Times 23rd Jan 2019
Singapore is a small country with no natural resources, but it has successfully harnessed technology, including sensors and automated meters, to help it fulfil its ambitions of becoming a smart city. This is an experience it hopes to share with other nations looking to technology for solutions to challenges such as climate change, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Sam Tan said on Monday. Speaking to a crowd of policymakers and academics at the Arctic Frontiers conference in Tromso, Norway, he said the theme of this year's event, Smart Arctic, was a timely one, with new technologies bringing about opportunities and disruptions.
Singapore Budget 2019 could see public works and other moves to prop up economy: report The Business Times 22nd Jan 2019
FITCH Solutions analysts are looking at looser fiscal policy from the Singapore government in February's Budget, according to a short commentary out on Monday. Citing an impending global slowdown and the pressure on the Republic's export-driven economy, the report said that the rising external downside risks "are likely to prompt policymakers to adopt policies to cushion the economy through domestic-oriented initiatives" such as public infrastructure spending. This could include bringing forward rail and other redevelopment projects, as a softer public works pipeline was seen as a drag on the Singapore economy and its struggling construction sector in 2018. Such infrastructure works have already been put on the table for the coming decade, the report noted. "As public finances remain healthy, there is room for the authorities to provide some support to the slowing economy," the Fitch macroeconomic research team wrote.
Singapore plans an underground future Gulf-Times 27th Dec 2018
From its towering “supertree” vertical gardens to a Formula 1 night race, Singapore is known for many attractions; underground space is not one of them. But that may soon change, as the city-state prepares to unveil an Underground Master Plan in 2019. With some 5.6mn people in an area three-fifths the size of New York City — and with the population estimated to grow to 6.9mn by 2030 — the island nation is fast running out of space. Singapore has been reclaiming land for decades, but that is increasingly unsustainable due to rising sea levels and other impacts of climate change. So the city is going underground. Singapore has already moved some infrastructure and utilities below ground, including train lines, retail, pedestrian walkways, a five-lane highway and air-conditioning cooling pipes.
Singapore Plans to Focus on Health, Infrastructure in Budget Bloomberg 22nd Jan 2019
Singapore’s finance minister said next month’s budget will focus on infrastructure spending, health care for an aging population, and helping businesses transition to a digital economy. “We want to be able to continue to invest in education, the health care of our people, and in taking care of the growing number of seniors,” Heng Swee Keat said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Haslinda Amin on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum meetings in Davos. “We are not done building Singapore,” he said. “We have many major infrastructure projects to make Singapore a green, livable city.” Heng, 57, is set to outline more details in his budget speech on Feb. 18. Last year he announced plans to increase the goods-and-services tax to 9 percent from 7 percent sometime during 2021 to 2025 to help pay for growing health and infrastructure spending. The tax hike is still “very much in the plans,” Heng said in the interview. The budget comes against the backdrop of U.S.-China trade tensions and weaker global growth. Singapore’s export-reliant economy is forecast to expand 1.5 percent to 3.5 percent this year, according to the government, after holding above 3 percent for a second year in 2018.
COMMENT: How Singapore is setting the standard for the future of urban mobility Automotive World 21st Jan 2019
For decades, Singapore has been a global pioneer in the urban mobility field. Although the small island republic plays host to few automotive industry players, the futuristic Lion City has been credited by experts and researchers as a leader in innovative mobility strategies, even earning the top score in Arthur D. Little’s 2018 ‘Future of Mobility’ study. But the forward-thinking city-state faces present-day challenges. Over the past ten years, the island has experienced a population explosion. Over 5.6 million people now live in this tropical commerce hub and the space crunch is creating new obstacles in the drive towards effective mobility solutions.
China's Zhoushan to go after Singapore marine hub's top billing Channel NewsAsia 3rd Jan 2019
ZHOUSHAN: China's port city of Zhoushan is planning to challenge Singapore's dominance of the multi-billion dollar shipping fuel industry, relying on proximity to some of the world's biggest ports and Beijing's support to give it an edge. The port facilities in the cluster of islands around Zhoushan have annual marine fuel sales of 3.6 million tonnes, less than a tenth of the record 50.6 million tonnes of shipping or bunker fuel Singapore sold in 2017. Zhoushan, though, was ranked fourth in global container traffic in 2016, according to the World Shipping Council, and it sits 150 kilometres from the world's biggest container port at Shanghai, and within a day's voyage of other major ports including Ningbo and Nanjing. Zhoushan wants to go after the fuelling business represented by this traffic, and many shippers and analysts expect it to mount the first serious challenge to Singapore in decades. A thriving bunker market attracts valuable secondary businesses - shipping supplies, maintenance and repairs, insurance and other maritime financial services - worth billions of dollars more a year.
Hackers get invite to find holes in Singapore Govt's digital systems in 2nd bug bounty exercise Channel NewsAsia 21st Dec 2018
A second bug bounty programme targeting five Government systems and websites in Singapore is currently underway, according to a joint release by the Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech) and Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA). Issued on Friday (Dec 21), both agencies said they will partner local and overseas ethical, or white hat, hackers to search for vulnerabilities in these systems in return for rewards.
Cabinet approves 116 projects for South in 4 years Bangkok Post 23rd Jan 2019
The cabinet on Tuesday approved the development of the Southern Economic Corridor (SEC), covering 116 projects worth 106.79 billion baht. The 116 projects will be developed on a combined 300,000 square metres in Chumphon, Ranong, Surat Thani and Nakhon Si Thammarat during 2019-22. Nathporn Chatusripitak, an adviser to the minister of the Prime Minister's Office, said the four-year development will cover four key strategic plans, with the first aiming to develop the SEC as the gateway to South Asia and a link to the Eastern Economic Corridor. The first plan covers 11 projects worth 50.3 billion baht, including the upgrade of Ranong deep-sea port and airports in four provinces.
PM okays B17.5m for housing project Bangkok Post 16th Jan 2019
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has approved a 17.5-million-baht rehabilitation plan for a controversial housing project for staff of the Administrative Office of Appeal Region 5 in Chiang Mai. Government spokesman Buddhipongse Punnakanta said the budget, already held by Chiang Mai, would be spent mainly on repopulating forested areas that were cut down during the construction of the housing project. The rehabilitation plan won approval from Gen Prayut last month, he said.
World Bank trims Thailand 2019 GDP growth to 3.8% Bangkok Post 16th Jan 2019
The World Bank has trimmed its projection for Thailand's economic growth this year to 3.8% from 3.9% estimated earlier, due to a global slowdown and elevated trade tensions between the United States and China. The revision was made in its twice-yearly Thailand Economic Monitor, published on Wednesday. "Weaker global growth will likely impact the export performance of Thailand and restrain manufacturing activities in export-oriented industries," Kiatipong Ariyapruchya, World Bank senior economist for Thailand, said in a statement. Continued implementation of public infrastructure projects and economic reforms can help catalyse domestic demand in 2019 and support medium-term growth, he said.
B18bn projects approved for upper North Bangkok Post 15th Jan 2019
The cabinet has approved in principle 10 infrastructure projects worth a combined 17.7 billion baht for four upper northern provinces. Government spokesman Buddhipongse Punnakanta said on Tuesday a meeting of cabinet ministers, governors and representatives from the private sector, chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, agreed in principle the 10 infrastructure development projects for Lamphun, Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son and Lampang. The meeting took place shortly before the mobile cabinet meeting in Lampang on Tuesday.
Rail work puts squeeze on city Bangkok Post 13th Jan 2019
While the rail system for public transport is under construction around the country, traffic chaos can be expected throughout this year in Bangkok, particularly in the north, as several projects gather steam. The Green Line extension linking Mo Chit to Khu Khot in Pathum Thani, via Saphan Mai, is still under construction. The 19-kilometre project is now 69% complete and is expected to be functioning next year. Motorists along the route can expect traffic woes in some stretches as some traffic lanes are still closed to make way for construction. Work is also proceeding on the Pink Line that connects Khae Rai in Nonthaburi to Min Buri and the Yellow Line linking Lat Phrao with Samrong in Samut Prakan. Work on the 30.4km Yellow Line has already caused traffic snarls on Lat Phrao Road, particularly during rush hours. The two projects are due to be launched in 2021.
BoI to focus on rail and cruise ship port investment The Nation 11th Jan 2019
“Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha stated that he wants the BoI to support both foreign and domestic investment into the country’s rail system,” BoI secretary-general, Duangjai Asawachintachit, said at a press conference after a BoI meeting with the Prime Minister. Under the BoI investment package, business projects concerning the rail system and related sectors that apply for BoI promotions by December, 2021, will receive a tax reduction of 50 per cent for three to five years, she said. Projects that are located in the northeastern region of Thailand such as Korat and Khonkaen province and surrounding areas, will receive the tax reduction for five years, she said. Duangjai also said that the BoI is looking to encourage investment in the construction of Thailand’s own train assembly factory as it will help reduce the burden on the country’s imports.
Thai-Chinese high-speed rail opened up to foreign finance Bangkok Post 9th Jan 2019
The government has allowed the Thai-Chinese high-speed railway planned from Bangkok to Nong Khai to secure funding from overseas financial institutions, instead of from only domestic ones as earlier stipulated. Nathporn Chatusripitak, an adviser to the Prime Minister's Office Minister, said the cabinet yesterday approved a proposal from the Finance Ministry to allow the ministry to borrow 166.34 billion baht from overseas financial institutions for the development of the Thai-Sino high-speed railway from Bangkok to Nong Khai. In July 2017, the cabinet approved the Finance Ministry borrowing the same amount only from domestic financial institutions for the State Railway of Thailand to finance the Thai-Sino high-rail development from Bangkok to Nong Khai.
Local train manufacturing plant on agenda The Nation 8th Jan 2019
He said setting up a train assembly plant would generate more than 500 jobs for local people. It also will reduce imports worth up to Bt70 billion a year, to only Bt7 billion a year. Production from the plant could also be exported to other countries in Asean such as Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam, who are also expand investments in their infrastructure, including rail systems. “There are foreign investors from Japan, South Korea and Germany interested in expanding their investments in train and rail assembly plants in Thailand including investors. We believe that in the next two to three years from now, we will have train and rail assembly plants in Thailand,” he said.
High-speed rail needs help to make an impact Bangkok Post 7th Jan 2019
For all the hype surrounding Thailand's planned high-speed railway lines, their economic impact will be minimal without better planning to improve urban amenities and productivity in the services sector, say Japanese researchers. Based on current plans, the rail projects would improve the kingdom's gross domestic product (GDP) by only 0.1% by 2035, according to a research paper by the Institute of Developing Economies at the Japan External Trade Organization (IDE-Jetro).
Cabinet OKs land use for airport rail Bangkok Post 3rd Jan 2019
The cabinet on Wednesday approved a royal decree to expropriate 850 rai of land in 20 tambons (subdistricts) in three provinces and one district in Bangkok for construction of the 220-km high-speed railway linking Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi and U-tapao airports. According to government spokesman Buddhipongse Punnakanta, studies by consultants hired by the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) have proposed that the government needs to expropriate land for the high-speed rail development in Lat Krabang district of Bangkok and 20 tambons in Chachoengsao, Chon Buri and Rayong, including a combined 850 rai and 245 buildings.
BoI gears up to snare aerospace investors for U-tapao Bangkok Post 3rd Jan 2019
The Board of Investment (BoI) has laid out a plan to attract aerospace investment at U-tapao airport in 2019 as part of the government's Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) development. The first phase develops 6,500 rai for the airport and an aviation hub, which includes a new terminal to accommodate 15 million passengers in the next five years, a second runway, a business zone, a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility, and air cargo space. The Royal Thai Navy plans to announce a winning bidder for the first phase in March, with the document submission deadline on Feb 28.
Hà Nội asked to submit urban administration project Vietnam News 23rd Jan 2019
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has asked Hà Nội to promptly develop a pilot management project on urban administration and submit it to the Politburo for consideration. During a conference in the capital city yesterday, the PM lauded the municipal Party Committee, People’s Council and People’s Committee for collecting feedback from ministries and agencies and reporting the progress to National Assembly agencies. The project must offer better mechanisms for the city in line with Conclusion No.22-KL/TW by the Politburo and Resolution No.18-NQ/TW by the Party Central Committee, ensuring Party leadership and direction over municipal authorities at all levels, he said.
Transport facilities to be enhanced for tourism Vietnam News 23rd Jan 2019
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has approved a project on passenger transport quality supervision and safe traffic. The project’s objective, set for 2025, is to equip 80 per cent of key bus stations, highway stops, railway stations, inland waterway ports and airports with modern facilities and connected tourist locations. All highways and expressways will be operated and managed by smart applications so as to gradually wipe out hotspots of traffic accidents. The project will include investment in building new tourism bus stations, seaports, airports and railway routes in localities which have great potential for tourism.
Phú Quốc boosts investment in socio-economic development Vietnam News 22nd Jan 2019
Phú Quốc island district continues to deploy synchronous solutions, creating favourable conditions, supporting investors and enterprises to implement projects as planned, speeding up construction and contributing to local socio-economic development. This was revealed by Phú Quốc Economic Zone management board in the southern province of Kiên Giang, Vietnam News Agency reported on Monday. In particular, the island is concentrating on investment capital to speed up the construction schedule to complete key infrastructure projects; overcome limitations and weaknesses in planning management, land, construction, compensation and site clearance; drastically handle disputes, compensation, clearance, resettlement and support for people to have "clean land" for investors to implement the projects.
Bình Dương open for investment Vietnam News 22nd Jan 2019
To reach the targets for economic growth for the 2016 – 20 period, the southern province of Bình Dương will focus on eight major works this year to encourage new investment. Provincial authorities will urge site clearance and facilitate construction work to improve the investment climate and help the private sector to develop. The province will open industrial parks and zones to welcome new investment trends, said Mai Hùng Dũng, deputy chairman of Bình Dương People’s Committee.
Việt Nam urged to become a factory for the world Vietnam News 18th Jan 2019
Việt Nam must become a factory for the world and foster a good investment environment for all economic sectors in order to develop production and boost growth. This statement was made by Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc at a meeting of the Ministry of Industry and Trade held in Hà Nội on Thursday. PM Phúc said that after 30 years of renewal, the industry and trade sector has seen impressive growth and has become a key contributor to the country’s development, contributing 80 per cent of the GDP and 7 per cent of the State budget.
Road tests target container trucks vietnamnews.vn 9th Jan 2019
The Việt Nam Register (VR) has asked its branches nationwide to increase technical safety examinations of vehicles, particularly container trucks, coaches and tractor trailers, as part of measures to improve traffic safety. The move was made following a series of serious recent traffic accidents that involved these kinds of vehicles and caused great public concern about traffic safety. Inspections will focus on fire prevention and weight requirements.
Quảng Trị gets PM approval for $614 million port project vietnamnews.vn 8th Jan 2019
The central province of Quảng Trị is going to build a seaport at a cost of VNĐ14 trillion (US$614 million) at local Mỹ Thủy Beach in an attempt to boost development of the province’s key economic zone. According to the local People’s Committee, a decision issued by the Prime Minister late last week gave the province permission to go ahead with construction of the proposed Mỹ Thủy Sea Port in Hải Lăng District.
Construction ministry to focus on social housing vietnamnews.vn 5th Jan 2019
Deputy Prime Minister Trịnh Đình Dũng asked the Ministry of Construction to pay attention to the development of social housing projects and homes for low-income earners while enhancing urban management and creating favourable conditions for construction businesses. Dũng was speaking at a conference on Friday to review results achieved by the ministry in 2018 and raise orientations for 2019.