Thailand to invest in infrastructure development
The Thailand infrastructure action plan for 2017 is worth US$25.2 billion and includes 36 projects, covering rail, roads, air transport and ports around the country.
August 8, 2017
By Denice Cabel
Thailand’s strategically important geographic location gives it ample advantage to become a primary regional economic hub, not only in trade, investment and tourism, but also in communication and transportation networks that connect to other regions around the world. And the government has in recent years made investment in domestic infrastructure its top priority.
The Thailand infrastructure action plan for 2017 is worth US$25.2 billion and includes 36 projects, covering rail, roads, air transport and ports around the country. The government plans to begin selling Thailand Future Fund investment units in October as an infrastructure investment alternative. It’s a way of raising liquidity from the public for the construction of massive state infrastructure projects. The unit sales are expected to reap $1.1 billion.
The Industry Ministry recently revealed that Thailand’s emerging Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) is expected to see investment in infrastructure projects reach $43 billion in the next five years — for airport expansion, new railways and cities, port development and spurring modern industry.
Helping ensure the success of its infrastructure development, the government will provide full support, including eliminating barriers, rules and regulations in order to generate real, high-value investments, as well as a one-stop service to facilitate investment in the EEC. The Board of Investment of Thailand (BOI) in turn offers enticing and competitive privileges, including a corporate tax holiday for up to 15 years, exemption from import duties on machinery and raw materials, 17% personal income tax credits for executives, experts and researchers working in designated zones, grants to support investments in R&D, innovation and human resource development, permission to own land for promoted activities, and one-stop service to facilitate business operations.
An integrated local and cross-border transportation network
Fast-paced development of a comprehensive network of interconnecting transport routes across the country will accommodate rapidly surging demand for both domestic and cross-border transportation. Government agencies are expediting efforts to call for bids on several new mass-transit routes and an expressway system throughout Greater Bangkok, and motorway, double-track rail and high-speed train projects across the nation.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has made a personal appeal for public support for the Thai-Chinese high-speed railway planned to link Bangkok to the northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima. The same railway is envisioned as connecting with Chinese high-speed trains in Laos traveling to China, as part of a joint Chinese-Thai effort which forms part of Beijing’s vast infrastructure drive known as the “One Belt, One Road” initiative.
Another high-speed train project, the 193.5-kilometre Bangkok-Rayong route, which will link the Eastern Economic Corridor to Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang and U-tapao international airports, is in now undergoing a feasibility study and preparations for a public private partnership (PPP).
Elsewhere in Thailand, a Bangkok-Hua Hin high-speed railway and a mass-transit rapid monorail system for Phuket are currently being assessed for feasibility.