Roland Berger to manage bidding for mammoth project in Myanmar

10 September 2020 3 min. read

Myanmar’s government has enlisted Roland Berger to manage the competitive bidding process for a major infrastructure project in Yangon – part of the Chinese Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) efforts in Myanmar. 

The overall project – New Yangon City (NYC) – is among the key links the BRI, with President XI Jinping declaring it a key pillar of the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC). Part of the new development – situated on the western bank of the Yangon river – is an industrial zone, complete with two bridges, roads, power facilities, water treatment plants and an industrial estate.

Rather than launching a tender for the project, authorising body New Yangon City Development (NYCD) awarded the contract for the project’s first phase to the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) back in 2018. The decision was labeled a time saving tactic. In response to criticism, NYCD has now provided the option for other construction companies to challenge the CCCC bid with their own proposal, provided that the bid meets all the necessary project requirements.

This competitive process – known as a Swiss Challenge – is expected to take place in November this year, and global strategy consultancy Roland Berger has been brought on board to manage it.

Myanmar’s Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations (MIFER) announced that Roland Berger will provide end-to-end consultancy services for the process. The job starts with evaluating the project in itself, as well as the CCCC’s proposal and progress reports so far. The firm will also assess all agreements made with stakeholders until this point.

Roland Berger to manage bidding for mammoth project in Myanmar

According to Yangon Region Minister for Planning & Finance U Ye Min Oo, Roland Berger “will also analyse whether the cost makes sense. After that they will decide how the Swiss challenge can be carried out.” He indicated that the entire review and preparation process will likely take two months at the very least. 

Once the process is complete, Roland Berger will also be responsible for communicating the results to stakeholders and revising the final concession agreement if the project is reassigned.

The entire Swiss Challenge is an effort to ensure that investors remain interested in the mammoth project.

The contract worth $1.5 billion – originally awarded as a whole to CCCC – has now been unbundled into various parts to be managed by different firms. What results is a fairer process, and the likelihood of more widespread interest and better quality in a project that is central to the BRI and Myanmar’s business environment.

The decision to push forward with the industrial zone is driven by the fact that this phase has tremendous potential to create jobs – a central consideration for the Myanmar government at present. Jobs and livelihoods have disappeared in Myanmar, across Asia, and across the globe during the crisis, and the latest development could provide a much needed boost as economies reopen.

“In keeping with the times and the need to create more quality jobs to mitigate the adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the country’s economy, we have decided to focus first on setting up the industrial zone,” explained Union Minister of MIFER U Thaung Tun.