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Myanmar's new national land use plan in pipeline

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Myanmar's new national land use plan in pipeline

Channel News Asia, 12 Sep 2013

URL: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/my
NAYPYIDAW: Myanmar aims to release a new national land use plan which will outline the areas for urban development by end next year.

This plan will help to systematically allocate reserved land for future urban use.

It is also hoped such a plan will help control rising property prices.

Property prices in Myanmar have been soaring recently, rising by more than three times in a span of just a few months.

Aside from the growing demand for properties, the price hike is also due to a lack of quality developments.

Another contributing factor is the lack of a clear national land policy.

Land scarcity is certainly not an issue here in Myanmar. More importantly, observers said the government must map out detailed plans to specify exactly what the land can be used for and also what other plots of land are available in this country for development.

Property owners can then have a clearer idea on what they want to do with their land, instead of holding on to it because of the lack of clarity in regulation.

More details will be given as the government seeks to map out a better policy for urban land use.

Hlaing Maw Oo, deputy chief architect and urban planner at the construction ministry, said: "For each and every region, for each and every urban area, they will have their own sort of boundaries of urban area that they expect to have within 20 years. They will have to, from the very beginning, properly allocate the land for several uses, depending on their potential.

"If the potential is in tourism, where should be the services, where should be the hotels and where should be the land use for housing and so on. Up till now, to be frank, there's no real clear cut policy for that but we're already working on that in all the states and regions."

Some said more needs to be done.

Chirstopher Thurane Aung from Dagon International, said: "The issue is to expand our cities, have better infrastructure and also the proper rules and regulations need to be in place and whichever rules and regulations in place, it needs to be abided by."

Others suggested the authorities should also consider releasing more government land for joint venture developments.

Tony Picon, managing director of Colliers International (Myanmar), said: "A lot of the local land owners who are able to do business, already have businesses with foreigners in other sectors.

"I think they want to be part of the Myanmar growth story and they will be involved in the development process themselves, rather than just leasing it out. That will start to bring prices down in order to bring in a foreigner which they can work with."

Unless the government implements stricter and more effective measures, it will take some time before property prices in Myanmar can be normalized.