More than half of Thailand’s top economists have asked the government to opt for other means to gain funds for the country’s infrastructure development instead of a bill for Bt2.2 trillion loans, according to a Bangkok University survey.

In a survey among 60 economists from 33 leading Thai organisations Jan 13-18, more than half — 56.7 per cent — of the respondents expressed concern that problems that may arise from the bill while one-fourth of them described as appropriate the promulgation of a bill to acquire loans.

The latter group said there might be problems but it is better than doing nothing or holding on to the same old budgeting framework.

The Thai Cabinet has given its green light to one of the country’s construction giants to be in charge of the 3.5-billion-baht Purple Line electric train project.


Regarding the seven-year infrastructure development project, nearly all — 96.6 per cent — of the economists stressed the necessity of the investment to prepare Thailand for the launch of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015, while 81.6 per cent said the economic situation and financial market from now for the next seven years is suitable in seeking funds for infrastructure investment.

Sixty per cent worry, however, that public debt at 60 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) will put the country at risk in case of economic crisis or a bubble burst, while 21.7 per cent were not concerned, saying the public debt-GDP ratio remains low and domestic investment will spur the economy, increase tax collection and boost Thailand’s competitive edge.
However, 88 per cent of the economists doubted the government’s capacity to prevent corruption, while 48 per cent said corruption will be at higher level than other state’s projects.
The economists predict that Thailand’s competitiveness will move from the present 38th rank to 30th, competency on fundamental infrastructure from 46th to 32nd, business convenience from 18th to 15th, international trade convenience from 20th to 16th, logistics cost per GDP from 15 per cent to 13 per cent, and the Gini coefficient from 0.48 to 0.46 due to better distribution of income.
Other key performance indications raised by the economists are the government’s disclosure of progress on each project, details on fund withdrawals, project yield rates and regular loan payments. (MCOT online news

Source: Thai economists oppose loan bill for mega projects | |

A massive programme of investment in Thailand’s infrastructure, designed to enhance international connectivity and competitiveness, is set to be implemented this year amid a renewed commitment to investment and regional development.

The government is lining up 55 projects worth Bt2.27trn ($76.27bn) to be executed by 2020, with Bt100bn ($3.36bn) allocated in the 2013 fiscal year, the local press reported on January 18. The projects come under the government’s long-term development plan, but are being accelerated due to new commitments to investment and regional development, including liberalisation in neighbouring Myanmar, and the roll-out of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).

The Thai Cabinet has given its green light to one of the country’s construction giants to be in charge of the 3.5-billion-baht Purple Line electric train project.

Deputy government spokesperson Pakdihan Himathongkam said on Tuesday that the weekly Cabinet meeting has resolved to give an approval for Italian-Thai Development Public Company (Italthai) Limited to be responsible for the construction of the Bang Yai-Bang Sue electric rail system, after the company won the open bidding.

The train system, known as the Purple Line, is to be constructed under the budget of THB3.585 billion, as proposed by Italthai, which was lower than the median price set by the government.

Mr. Pakdihan said that the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) committee reached a resolution on July 19, 2012 to hire Italthai to build the rail system for the Purple Line and reported the decision to Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the financier of the project.

The deputy government spokesperson added that details of the civil work have also been approved by the Office of the Attorney General.

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