Thailand Aims To Amend Law To Lure Private Sector To Government Projects

Construction News

Thailand‘s Ministry of Finance expects to submit a draft amendment for the Private Participation Act by April next year in an effort to encourage greater private-sector involvement in the government’s multi-billion baht infrastructure projects.

Current regulations under the Private Participation Act (1992) proving to be obstacles in attracting private-sector interest are being revised and a proposal will be sent for Cabinet and parliamentary approval by April, Director-General of the State Enterprise Policy Office Somchai Sujjapongse told reporters Thursday.

Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij said the amendments will include making it faster for the private sector to receive government approval to participate in joint projects, accelerating the process to a maximum of between 12 months and 18 months from the current 48 months.

The government is seeking private-sector investment in a 754-kilometer Bangkok-Chiang Mai high-speed rail worth around THB200 billion ($6.66 billion), and a 221-km Bangkok-Rayong route worth around THB50 billion.

Apart from the national investment budget, the government will use an infrastructure fund as part of its fund-raising toolkit.

Transport Minister Sopon Zarum said the construction of these two routes should begin late 2011 or early 2012, and will go ahead even if the current government is removed from power at elections next year.

The two routes are separate from a government-to-government railway project with China already approved by Cabinet.

Korn said the government has a lot of future investments, including infrastructure, health care, education and other projects, but the public debt to gross domestic product ratio won’t exceed 60%.

He reiterated that the government is planning for a budget deficit of THB400 billion in the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30, 2011, and that the budget will be balanced in 2015.


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