Infrastructure projects: PM to woo Korean, HK investors
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will lead a delegation to South Korea and Hong Kong, aiming to woo investors for this country's Bt2-trillion infrastructure projects.
A source from Government House said the visits by the prime minister and her delegation from February 24-26 were aimed at inviting Korean and Hong Kong investors to join in the development of the water-management system, high-speed-rail projects and power production.
These projects, budgeted at Bt2.2 trillion, will be forwarded to Cabinet for consideration this month.
"The prime minister's visit is seen as building confidence among investors in Korea and Hong Kong so that they can see the viability of transport and infrastructure development that links Asean and becomes its regional centre," the source said.
Yingluck will visit South Korea on February 24 and 25 and will hold discussions on a bilateral agreement with President Park Geun-hye on the second day.
The discussion will focus on monitoring progress of the issues agreed when former Korean president Lee Myung-bak visited Thailand from November 9-11 last year. The issues include bilateral relations, regional cooperation and other matters such as an action plan for economic and trade cooperation (2013-17) between the two countries.
They will also monitor progress on negotiating a bilateral trade agreement under the Thailand-Korea Joint Cooperation Committee.
For the visit to Hong Kong on February 26, the government is preparing an agreement on cooperation with that city in economic and trade relations, besides wooing investors from there.
Meanwhile, the new Private-Public Partnership (PPP) law is expected to be in effect either this month or next month, which will support the quick development of mega-project investment and the government's plan to spend Bt2 trillion on overall infrastructure projects.
Prasong Poontaneat, director-general of the State Enterprise Policy Office (SEPO), said yesterday that the House of Representatives had passed the bill and it was waiting for the prime minister to present it for royal endorsement to become a law.
The bill contains 72 articles, compared with 27 in the existing law, and is designed to shorten the process of considering the approval of PPP projects to eight months from three years previously.
Project evaluation will be conducted every three years. A PPP committee will be set up to steer project development. It will be chaired by the prime minister and comprise seven members from the private and state sectors. An independent committee will also be appointed to consider each project.
Among the first two PPP projects this year are the mass-transit system in Greater Bangkok and the Bangpa-in-Nakhon Ratchasima motorway. The private sector is also interested in joining the state sector to invest on a PPP basis in the proposed Bt2.2-trillion infrastructure projects. The project value the private sector is interested in is expected to be between Bt300 billion and Bt400 billion.
The bill also authorises the finance minister to set the budget for each project.
Under the new law, the SEPO will host all the projects.
The new law also requires the establishment of a fund to hire project advisers, and this cost will be repaid by the winners of contract tenders. The government will inject seed money of Bt2 billion into the fund in the fiscal 2014 budget.
The new law also bans project advisers from acting as advisers to the contractual parties two years after the projects are completely delivered. They will face criminal punishment for three years if this condition is breached.