Sagaing Region Chief Minister, Dr Myint Naing, has said he is looking forward to working closely with India’s Manipur on Agriculture, Infrastructure, and Tourism. He was speaking at the Floating Hotel, Mandalay on January 30, 2018. The following is the full text of his address.
“Mingalarbar, Namaste and good morning to all of you! Government leaders from the Manipur State of India, executive members and business leaders from the India Myanmar Chamber of Commerce, business representatives from the Sagaing Region, business representatives from the Mandalay Region - friends of Sagaing! I am so delighted to welcome you to our Sagaing Division and I thank you for your kind interest in Sagaing and for taking the time to visit us.
I would like to extend a special welcome to delegates from our neighbouring state of Manipur. Sagaing has a special relationship with India because our region is bordered by 4 states of northeast India - Nagaland, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, and of course, Manipur. Looking across the room here warms my heart because I feel surrounded by good friends and neighbours.
I recently had a great opportunity to visit India, to a conference in Kolkata that was supported by the government of West Bengal. There, I had the opportunity to learn the successful actions taken by leaders of the Indian states to bring prosperity to their regions. I also made good friends with my counterparts in the Indian government as well as your colleagues within the Indian business community.
My friends, we really value the relationship we have with you. You are our gateway to your great country of India, an ancient and rich civilization that we, in Myanmar share a long history and culture with. It is my great hope that increased connectivity across our borders will lead to greater cooperation and prosperity to our states and our countries. We have a great future in increasing our border trade activities, in key trade routes such the Tamu-Moreh border.
My government is committed to the development of our Sagaing Region. We are a very lucky region, blessed with natural resources. We have 9 million acres of forest, over 5 million acres of cultivated lands and 4 million acres of wildlands. We have many known, as well as yet to be explored mineral deposits. Sagaing is known as the paddy barn of upper Myanmar for the quantity of rice we produce.
Moreover, pulses and beans are the most important crops for Sagaing. We are the largest producer of beans and pulses in Myanmar. Myanmar exports more than 1 million tons of beans and pulses annually, and India is the major importer of Myanmar’s beans, accounting for 60-80% of Myanmar’s exports. I am sure there are a few business persons in this room who are involved in this important trade for Myanmar.
Our region’s priority sectors are Agriculture, Infrastructure, and Tourism. We know that we can learn a lot from all of you in the room and that the business community represented here from both India and Myanmar are great assets to Sagaing’s development.
As an example, in Tourism, we are keen to showcase Sagaing’s natural beauty and develop it as an attractive destination for ecotourism. We understand that we need to increase our infrastructure such as roads, accommodation; increase our human capital with training and understanding to cater to global and local tourists; and at the same time, develop and implement policies to protect our beautiful natural environment and local customs and livelihoods.
We welcome your ideas and suggestions on our three priority sectors of Agriculture, Infrastructure and Tourism, but please don’t limit yourselves to these sectors. Any and all ideas are welcome and will be gratefully received.
It is days like today, when we meet face-to-face, make person-to-person connections, that lead to mutually-beneficial outcomes. I sincerely hope that today strengthens existing relationships, creates new bonds and leads to fruitful discussions. The key message I want to give you today is that my government and I are here to help you the best that we can, so that your business ideas turn into worthwhile investments for Sagaing.
Thank you very much and enjoy the day.”