Minister of Information and Communication Technology Chuti Krairiksh said he had ordered a revision on the planned bidding to launch the innovative 3G network services to allow Thai investors to co-invest with foreign firms.
Previously, only foreign firms in Thailand including two from China and another three from Europe, including Ericson, were allowed to enter the bidding for the scheme.
The planned revision for bidding will be presented for Cabinet consideration, probably on Tuesday, Mr Chuti said. TOT plans to build about 5,500 base stations for 3G network services so that services could be offered nationwide.
Also, it plans to discuss with Advanced Info Service (AIS) about using its already existing stations throughout Thailand.
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Infrastructure services, if quickly improved, could promote a better investment climate in Thailand
Citing the political unrest, S&P in April lowered Thailand’s long-term local currency debt rating to A minus from A. Fitch downgraded the long-term foreign currency rating to BBB from BBB+ that month, on the grounds that political strife undermined the ability of the Government to implement policies. The forecasts assume there are no disruptive changes in government in the forecast period and that fscal policy is implemented as planned. In addition to the frst fscal stimulus package, the Government has approved a second package that comprises public investment and that will cost B1.43 trillion ($42 billion) over 3 fscal years starting in October this year. This is equivalent to about 5% of GDP in each of the years.
During the closure of the airports in Bangkok from November 26 to December 2nd the CDS rose and was on par with regional peers, while the stock market fell further below that of regional peers.The impact of the global financial crisis in Thailand has been started to be felt in the real sector, particularly that of exports. Strong external accounts have enabled Thailand to withstand the contraction in global liquidity. International reserves remain relatively large and external debt – especially short-term debt – is low.
In support of this shift in emphasis, the Board of Investment adopted its sustainable development policy, and provides attractive investment incentives for such related industries as alternative energy, high technology, including medical food and equipment and the environment.
The Bank has rightly noted that Thailand’s ability to provide higher value added to its manufacturing sector would improve its ability to compete in
“the increasingly globalized and knowledge- based economy. The resulting higher-paying jobs in these sectors would also strengthen domestic demand in the long run.”
There will need to be targeted measures to assist these groups of people as well as programs to improve their skills, so that they are able to return to the formal sector employment when manufacturing growth rebounds in the next couple of years. Similarly, the impact of an economic downturn on SMEs will be greater than on larger firms, as SMEs generally have less excess cash and ability to borrow from banks.Loan extension to SMEs as well as measures to increase their productivity and risk management are necessary for them to maintain their operations in the next few years, as well as remain competitive in the longer term in Thailand.
This is consistent with the fact that public investment levels in Thailand have been relatively low with its share in real GDP at only 5-6 percent in recent years.
This is because public investment was contracting since the 1998 crisis and only expanded in 2004-2007, before contracting again this year with delays in disbursement and project completion as a result of the sharp rise in construction material prices and political uncertainties. Starting next year, the government needs to speed up disbursements on public investments. The government could also raise the amount of public investment. It has the fiscal capacity to do so as public debt levels and debt repayments remain well below the fiscal sustainability guidelines.
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With its strategic location in the center of ASEAN with emerging markets, including Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia and southern China, on its border, Thailand is well position to connect investors to new opportunities arising from the increasing border trade and the region’s rapid economic growth.
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