18 October 2021, Maungdaw
Trading through the Sittwe border trade centre to Bangladesh has resumed since October 16, but the Maungdaw border trade centre could not be reopened as of October 18, according to traders in Maungdaw Township.
One trader, Ko Maung Maung Chay, told DMG: “Authorities [were supposed to] allow the reopening of two border trade centres in Arakan State at the same time, but we do not know so far which port we’ll have to use for trading at the Maungdaw border trade centre.”
The delay to the resumption of trade through the Maungdaw border trade centre is causing many losses for traders, he said.
Trading reportedly cannot be resumed in Maungdaw as yet because traders are demanding to be allowed to use the old border trade site, known as the Port of Entry or POE, as roads are damaged and in poor condition at the Kanyin Chaung economic zone.
Border trade centres in Arakan State were temporarily closed on July 15 due to rising Covid-19 infections, with the state’s military government announcing its intention to reopen them earlier this month.
“What we mainly want to demand is to allow us to use POE for one or two months while the roads at the Kanyin Chaung economic zone are under repair. It is the best solution for traders,” Ko Maung Maung Chay said.
Nay Oo, the Maungdaw District administrator, said: “Traders were summoned today [October 18] and told that they are allowed to trade at POE. So, they can resume trading from tomorrow.”
Trading at the Kanyin Chaung economic zone started in April, but streets in the economic zone are in such poor shape that traders, motorists and workers say upgrades to the roadway infrastructure are necessary if the would-be commerce hub is to function as envisioned.
Construction of the Kanyin Chaung economic zone began in 2015 at a cost of K3.84 billion in total, amounting to K2.5 billion from the government and K1.34 billion from the private sector.
Trading can be handled 24 hours a day at Kanyin Chaung economic zone, which is located about four miles from Maungdaw town. The Kanyin Chaung economic zone was built to promote Myanmar-Bangladesh trade and to create a seller’s market to Bangladesh.
With trading via the Kanyin Chaung economic zone starting on April 13, trade volume stood at US$573,000 in April and $1.114 million in May.