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Government wants more private sector infrastructure funding

The government wants more public-private partnerships in funding its eight-year infrastructure upgrade that will require over US$60 billion in national investment, the Minister of Finance said last week, adding that non-state sources should make up approximately half the funds devoted to the various projects. 
 
The government plans on supplying half the funds for investment but will seek the remainder from state enterprises, infrastructure funds, public-private partnership (PPP) investments, and foreign banks, said Minister of Finance Sommai Phasee.  At the moment, the government is counting on public-private partnerships to make up 15 percent of the funding, but wants to see that figure increased to 20 percent.
 
The country’s Strategic Transport Master Plan (2015-2022) will include the building of high-speed rail lines, the improvement and modernization of other rail lines, upgrading roads and highways and the renovation of several ports and airports.  The goals of the plan include making Thailand more competitive in terms of logistics so it will increase its regional advantages as a hub for manufacturing and trade, attract more investment to the country, and create jobs and stimulate growth through the massive construction projects.
 
Thailand was known for having some of the most modern infrastructure in Southeast Asia for decades.  As time has gone by, however, governments have rested on that advantage and invested less in infrastructure.  Consequently, some of Thailand’s extensive infrastructure is now considered to be aging and not on a par with the most modern infrastructure recently put in place by some competitor nations.
 
The current government is determined to reverse that trend and invest more in infrastructure to regain the Kingdom’s competitive advantages.
 
Speaking at a public hearing held by the State Enterprise Policy Organization (SEP), Sommai said the country would need to invest at least $7.6 billion each year over the eight years to pay for the new and upgraded infrastructure.  He added that approximately 10 percent of the government’s budget for the next fiscal year will be devoted to building infrastructure.
 
SEPO director-general Kulit Sombatsiri said that his office had received 68 public-private partnership project proposals from various ministries worth roughly $65 billion, of which 90 percent were transport projects.  The rest were related to communications, water management, irrigation, the environment, education, public health, and science and technology.
 
Among the additional projects being considered for possible joint public-private investment are the Pink Line monorail and the Bangkok-Chiang Mai and Bangkok-Hua Hin high-speed rail projects.
 
See the original article at Thailand e-newsletter

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