Friday, September 22, 2017

Clothing factory opened at Hpa-an’s first industrial zone

The production floor at the UMH-3 factory in Hpa-an, Kayin State Tuesday, November 6, 2012. (Myat May Zin / The Myanmar Times)The production floor at the UMH-3 factory in Hpa-an, Kayin State Tuesday, November 6, 2012. (Myat May Zin / The Myanmar Times)

The opening of a new garment factory in a recently established industrial zone in Kayin State could relieve pressure on Yangon’s industrial zones, while providing jobs to local people who might otherwise emigrate, industry experts say.

Factory UMH-3 – named after U Myint Htay, owner of UMH Garment Industries – opened in Hpa-an township on November 6.

“Many factories are located in Yangon, which has led to the concentration of the work force there. This could lead to social problems. So U Myint Htay agreed to set up a factory here,” said U Myint Soe, chairman of the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association (MGMA).

“The factory can provide thousands of job opportunities. Myanmar has to prepare for entry into the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015,” he said.

“We anticipate that garment factories operating near the border would then move to the industrial zones of Yangon because we have good labour sources. If people can get the same wages in their home town, they don’t have to emigrate. And the government will benefit from their taxes,” he added.

UMH already has two factories in Yangon: UMH-1 in Shwe Pyi Thar township in Yangon Region and UMH-2 in Pyinma Pin Industrial Zone in Yangon Region. UMH-3 will be the first in Hpa-an. It will employ 150 workers, who have been undergoing training at the Myanmar Maternal and Child Welfare Association building in the township since February.

The UMH-3 factory will occupy about 20 acres, and another building, covering 50 acres, is under construction.

“I will set up factories here from UMH-3 to UMH-9,” said U Myint Htay at the opening ceremony for UMH-3.

U Zaw Min, Chief Minister for Kayin State, said, “The main source of jobs here is agriculture, which doesn’t pay enough. Most young people go abroad to find work. Setting up industry in Kayin State provides a great opportunity for local people, who will no longer have to leave home to make a living.”

Foundations for the Hpa-an Industrial Zone were laid in December 2011, in a ceremony attended by U Zaw Min.

“The zone is close to the city and near the airport, the Thanlwin River and the general vicinity of the proposed East-West Economic Corridor road linking Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Bangladesh and India,” he told The Myanmar Times on December 7, 2011.

“This industrial zone will not only be connected to East and Southeast Asia but South Asia as well,” he said.

The zone is 7 miles (11.2 kilometres) outside Hpa-an and close to the recently reopened Myawaddy-Mae Sot border trading area with Thailand.