Passage for Bt60 bn proposal
The mobile Cabinet yesterday approved loans worth more than Bt60 billion to state agencies and for provincial projects.It instructed the Transport Ministry to work out more details of the government's plan to spend more than Bt2 trillion on infrastructure projects, which needed to be harmonised with the development strategies of each province.
Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt said after the mobile cabinet meeting in Uttaradit province that his ministry had yet to table the Bt2-trillion infrastructure plan for the Cabinet's consideration because some details were still lacking. The Transport and Finance ministries will discuss the issue.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will also convene with heads of all state agencies and provincial governors today on harmonisation of the provincial development plans and the central government's infrastructure plan. The Transport Ministry will then draft the investment bill, which will be presented for Cabinet's consideration within next couple of weeks.
The Cabinet yesterday approved borrowing by the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Bt16.2 billion from the 2013 fiscal year budget to pay for civil works and hiring of consultants for the Blue Line and Green Line projects. Of the total, Bt11.472 billion will be for the Blue Line's Hua Lamphong-Bang Kha and Bang Sue-Ta Phra routes and Bt4.745 billion for the Green Line's Bearing-Samut Prakan section.
The Cabinet also gave the nod to allocating Bt1.3 billion to the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority to offset its provision of free public bus service.
It also approved extending the waiver of the excise tax on diesel by another month from the original deadline of January 31. This is estimated to cost the state Bt9 billion in lost revenue.
It also approved in principle 111 projects proposed by provinces in the lower North worth more than Bt52 billion, of which 35 projects worth Bt672.71 million could be implemented immediately.
Regarding preparations for the upcoming Asean Economic Community, the Cabinet approved draft regulations of the Prime Minister's Office to set up an Asean special economic zone (SEZ) as proposed by the National Economic and Social Development Board.
The NESDB proposed the pilot use of a border area in Mae Sot, Tak province, to establish the SEZ. The government will also consider the use of other areas in more than 10 provinces to set up SEZs as proposed by those provinces.
The draft focuses on the definition of the special economic zone and the appointment of an SEZ committee to be chaired by the prime minister. The committee's role is to present the master plan of the zone's development to Cabinet.
The Cabinet also approved the Budget Bureau's preliminary proposal for spending for the 2014 fiscal year, Bt564 billion by 27 ministries out of the total proposed Bt1 trillion.