Project Overview

Thilawa SEZ is the first Special Economic Zone established in Myanmar. It is led by both Myanmar and Japanese governments and their private companies.

Series of land acquisition and relocation and resettlement of Project Affected Persons (PAPs) is led under the responsibility of the Yangon Regional Government(YRG). Thilawa SEZ Management Committee and Yangon Regional Government(YRG) cooperated to undertake the relocation and resettlement of PAPs while adhering to the international practices.

The Resettlement Work Plan(RWP) which describes the procedure and requirements of land acquisition and relocation is formulated by YRG and it  ensures a responsible commitment by Myanmar Government including  Income Restoration Program (IRP), monitoring, complaint management, and multiple-stakeholders.

The Thilawa SEZ Development Project?

Thilawa SEZ is the first Special Economic Zone developed by  Myanmar Government under the cooperation between Myanmar and Japan. MJTD which consists of both Myanmar and Japanese governments and private companies is, the developer of the SEZ is altering the land of t 2,400 ha into industrial area, residential and commercial area, rental factories and rental offices in phases.

History of Thilawa SEZ development project

1997DHSHD acquired part of land inside Thilawa SEZ Zone Aarea for
Thanlyin-Kyauktan Industrial Zone development(1,230ha) in
accordance with the Land Acquisition Act 1894.

TKDC, joint venture between DHSHD under MoC and SMD
International Pte Ltd of Singapore initiated development and
management. However,the development did not proceed.
1998 – 1999The lands acquired by the Government of Myanmar(GoM) in part of
Zone A area were transferred to DHSHD.
Aug 2012 – Jan 2013The GoM issued three official notices to people residing and/or
cultivating land inside the Thilawa SEZ area (Zone A and also Zone B).
Feb 2013Consultation meetings with PAPs regarding development, relocation
and resettlement were held continuously.
Mar 2013The lands were transferred to Thilawa SEZ Management Committee
from DHSHD.
Apr 2013Socio-Economic Census to was conducted to identify the
households/persons entitled to compensation
Jun 2013Detailed measurement survey was conducted to capture information on
socio-economics and lost assets of the PAPs affected by the relocation.
Nov 2013The Resettlement Work Plan (RWP) was completed for the Thilawa
Zone A area by the GoM, with the technical support of a Japan
International Cooperation Agency (JICA)-funded Expert Team (the JICA
Expert Team).
Implementation of the RWP also began.
Sep 2015Thilawa SEZ Zone A(400ha of this area) started operation
Feb 2017 –Development of Zone B has been undergoing

Location and Developed Area

Thilawa SEZ is located about 23 km southeast of Yangon city center, the largest city of Myanmar, and covers a total area of about 2400 ha.  The nearest container terminal in Thilawa Port is about 2 km from Thilawa SEZ.

[ Location ]

Industrial development  is a key factor in Thilawa SEZ and the industrial area occupies a large portion of the development area.  The area was divided into Zone A and Zone B, and each development was carried out in phases. Construction and operation dates of each Zones and Phases are as follows.

[ Zone & Phase of Thilawa SEZ development ]

Number of company’s registration in Thilawa SEZ

As of 2020, 121 companies are registered in Thilawa SEZ operation and the economic activities in Thilawa are expected to boost Foreign Direct Investment and employment creation in Yangon city region. 

The Reason Why Income Restoration Program (IRP) is needed

With the development of Thilawa SEZ implemented in phases, resettlement of PAPs (Project Affected Peoples) occurs when they start a new life in the Resettlement Site.

Income Restoration Program (IRP) in Thilawa SEZ , which is in-kind assistance, is provided in order to restore and stabilize the livelihood activities and income source of PAPs.

IRP focuses on diversified economic activity for PAPs to generate earned income in a short period which will be able to cover the basic needs of PAPs after relocation. It supports for capacity development of PAPs in necessary techniques for income earning activity and empowers PAPs to obtain stable job opportunities.

IRP is established based on international practices, the assistance policy of the framework and lessons learned from precedents case of Zone A, and will be further updated in consultation with feedback from PAHs and stakeholders.

More Details about Thilawa SEZ Development and Resettlement

1.Project Affected Person(PAP)

PAPs are the people affected by the development of the Thilawa SEZ.

They were physically relocated  from their previous settlement to specially constructed resettlement sites (RS) nearby. 

In November 2013, 382 Project Affected Persons (PAPs) from 81 households within the Zone A development area were relocated under the RWP. When the  Zone B development started, 624 PAPs from 158 PAHs were relocated. 

The IRP is available to all PAPs including:

(a)    Farmers who need to alter their income earning activity from farming to another activity;

(b)    Odd job (daily casual) workers and other off-farm workers who want to change their job place;

(c)    Unemployed people who want to improve their technical skills to find employment; and

(d)    Those who did not need to change their current income earning activities but who want to improve their technical skills and income levels.

The IRP is designed to restore PAPs’ economic livelihood, and also considered social, physical, natural environmental conditions and human skill development as important factors to restore and sustain improved livelihoods.

2.Resettlement Work Plan(RWP)

The Resettlement Work Plan is prepared in accordance with JICA’s Guidelines for environmental and social considerations and the World Bank’s environment and social safeguard policy.

As per the Resettlement Work Plan, the PAPs are provided with different kinds of assistance that include, but not limited to, a replacement of living place/plot in the resettlement site, a house having better condition than their original house, cash assistance for crop losses, cash assistance for 6-year crop value as a livelihood assistance, cash assistance for vulnerable groups (such as old-aged people, students, widows, etc.), cash assistance to cover relocation costs, guarantee for jobs created by the project, among others. 

You can access The Resettlement Work Plans from the website of TSMC  here;

Resettlement Work Plans

The relocation site is located about 6 km from Thilawa SEZ development area. The site was chosen near their current residential area, as proposed by the Myanmar Government.

3.Stakeholder of Resettlement and IRP

Yangon Regional Government(YRG)

The Yangon Regional Government(YRG) is responsible for the relocation and resettlement associated with the development of the Thilawa SEZ. It is also the organization that actually approves and implements the RWP.

Thilawa SEZ Management Committee(TSMC)

TSMC plays the role of facilitator, coordinator, regulator and monitor. It also cooperates with the developer, Myanmar Japan Thilawa Development Co., Ltd. (MJTD).
TSMC (Thilawa SEZ Management Committee) is one of the main sectors which accelerates the development of Thilawa SEZ. Also, TSMC is an implementer of IRP for PAPs. 

For further information about TSMC, go to: TSMC

MJTD (Myanmar Japan Thilawa Development)

The developer of the Thilawa SEZ is Myanmar Japan Thilawa Development Ltd (MJTD), which was formed in October 2013. The MJTD is a special purpose company founded by MMS Thilawa Development Co. Ltd (MMST); Myanmar Thilawa SEZ Holdings Public Limited (MTSH) and the Thilawa SEZ Management Committee (TSMC), with the purpose of building, selling and operating industrial complexes in Thilawa, Myanmar. 

For further information about MJTD, go to: MJTD

JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency)

Since the development of Thilawa SEZ is implemented by Japanese government, JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) has equity participation in MJTD. JICA engages the programs of TSMC and provides Myanmar government technical assistance for resettlement and income restoration to PAPs in relation to socio economic support of PAPs.

For further information about JICA, go to: JICA