ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation
By The Nation
PM says more economic corridors planned across the country
PROJECTS SIMILAR to the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) will be built in other regions of the country as part of government attempts to get Thailand out of the “middle-income trap”, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said yesterday.
The PM’s announcement came as the government’s EEC policy committee approved infrastructure development projects worth almost Bt700 billion for the eastern seaboard, consisting of high-speed train railway, an airport, and extension of a deep-sea port and an industrial estate.
He said the government had started the large-scale project in the eastern seaboard because the region has a high potential for development, including transport infrastructure.
“Similar projects will be undertaken in other regions in the next stages. We must have development in all regions in line with their potential,” Prayut said.
He added that the eastern seaboard had the potential for investment in new industries.
The government will seek investment from local and foreign businesses for future “economic corridor” projects in other regions of the country, he said.
“It takes many years for such projects to be constructed. If we do not start today, it will be too late,” he said, while chairing the EEC board meeting at Government House. The middle-income trap is a situation where a country’s economic growth slows making the transition to high-income level difficult.
Prayut said yesterday those involved would have to consider the possible negative impacts of such projects on local residents.
The interest of the country and the investors must be protected, he said, but the government would make sure that “we are not taken advantage of and get fair benefits”. Also, the projects must connect with local economies so that local people benefit. The EEC policy committee has approved a plan to develop four infrastructure projects worth Bt691.47 billion under a fast-track public-private partnership.
The fast track will reduce the period of infrastructure development projects from 20 months down to between eight and 10 months, EEC secretary-general Kanit Sangsubhan said after yesterday’s EEC board meeting.
The four projects consist of the high-speed train route from Bangkok to Rayong, costing Bt215.1 billion; U-tapao Rayong-Pattaya International Airport and aviation city, costing Bt310.38 billion; Phase 3 development of Laem Chabang deep-sea port, at Bt155.83 billion; and phase 3 development of the Map Ta Phut industrial estate, at Bt10.15 billion.
Kanit said the investment budget for all the projects is open for private sector investment.
This follows Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong’s policy that investment in the EEC infrastructure projects will not come from the government budget and public debt will not be increased.
The policy board also plans to boost the investment from foreign firms in the EEC up to Bt500 billion within five years from this year until 2021, or an average Bt100 billion a year, by targeting 30 firms from China and Japan.
The board also plans to hold a road show in China, Europe, and USA, Kanit said.
Ekniti Nitithanprapas, director-general of the State Enterprise Policy Office, said yesterday that regulations related to fast-tracking public-private partnership projects have been approved by the policy committee of the EEC.
Under the new rules, project preparation and proposals will take about three-and-a-half to four months and selecting private firms would take between four and half and five and a half months.
Kobsak Pootrakool, vice minister for the Prime Minister’s Office, said the country has enough liquidity to support the Bt691.47 billion investment to develop EEC’s infrastructure projects.
“Currently, the commercial banks have enough cash to support the private firms to expand their investment in EEC infrastructure projects,” he said.