Thailand: Infrastructure plans prioritised

  • With Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha pledging to call a general election some time in 2018 between Sep and Dec 18, the government is likely to be busy revving up the development of myriad big-ticket infrastructure projects.
  • The Transport Ministry’s infrastructure development plan calls for ongoing development projects estimated at a combined THB103bn in FY18. The projects are mainly light rail tracks in key provinces like Phuket, Chiang Mai, Nakhon Ratchasima and Khon Kaen. The public-private partnership (PPP) programme will be applied to investment in the four light rail projects, said Transport Minister Arkhom Termpitayapaisith.
  • Similar rail projects in Phitsanulok and Udon Thani, the intercity motorway linking Bangkok and Mahachai in Samut Sakhon, the improvement of two airports in Khon Kaen and Krabi, and a dry port development in Khon Kaen are likely to be proposed for development in 2018.
  • Porametee Vimolsiri, secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB), said the new infrastructure projects and the government investment will build investor confidence and maintain the country’s economic growth momentum in the years to come.
  • The 2016 transport infrastructure action plan (urgent phase) called for 21 priority projects with a total investment value of THB1.83tr, while the 2017 plan calls for the investment of 34 infrastructure projects worth a combined THB895.75bn.
  • According to the NESDB report, 10 of the planned 21 projects outlined in the fiscal 2016 plan are under construction, one is in the process of acquiring cabinet approval, and five are about to start construction after the cabinet recently approved the winning contractors. Other projects include the Thai-Chinese high speed railway project, the Bangkok-Hua Hin and Bangkok-Rayong high-speed rail projects, and the Thai-Japanese high-speed train linking Bangkok and Chiang Mai.
  • The NESDB said of the 34 infrastructure projects worth THB895.75bn scheduled for investment in 2017, one project is operational, two are under construction and one is in the bidding process. Two projects are being prepared to be bid upon, 13 projects are in the process of requesting cabinet approval, 10 are being proposed to the PPP committee, and five are being studied for feasibility.
  • The NESDB predicts that government investment will rise by 11.8% in 2018, up from 9.9% in 2016 and 1.8% forecast for 2017. The NESDB expects 3.7% growth in private investment for 2018, up from 0.4% in 2016 and 2.2% forecast for 2017.

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