PRIVATE sector confidence is growing in the South thanks to investments and other initiatives under the government’s Southern Economic Triangle strategy.
For example, palm oil producer Palm Pattana Southern Border is negotiating with OPG Tech on a joint venture to invest more than Bt10 billion to build a refinery in Pattani province by 2020, the company’s general manager Nattasasi Maneechote said.
On it own, Palm Pattana Southern Border has set aside Bt1 billion to expand its palm-oil production capacity from an average 45 tonnes per hour to 60 tonnes by the end of this year. Nattasasi, who is a second-generation member of the Maneechote family business, said the company hopes to further increase capacity to 120 tonnes per hour by 2020. It also plans to generate 2.8 megawatts of biogas electricity by the end of this year, increasing to 4.8 megawatts by the end of 2018.
Funding will come from its cashflow and bank borrowings, she said.
“Although Pattani still has a problem with violence, this is our home,” she said. “We are confident that the government’s Southern Economic Triangle policy will create stable, prosperous and sustainable provinces. This will improve the quality of life for Pattani’s people and will reduce the violence.”
The Maneechote group, which includes biogas electricty generation and a construction business, had total sales of Bt2 billion in 2016, half of it from palm oil, It expects revenue to reach Bt2.5 billion this year, she said.
The group employs 300 local people, and the new investment is expected to create up to 100 more jobs.
Muhamasukree Masaning, president of the Pattani local fishermen’s association, said that assistance under the Southern Economic Triangle policy had also improved the quality of life for fishermen and their families.
Muhamasukree, who is also head of the Orang Pantai Community Enterprise cooperative that comprises 2,200 fishing boats, said fish prices had increased, and the enterprise was mow distributing to luxury hotels in Bangkok.
“We can pay our staff an average Bt250 to Bt300 a day. We have had sales of Bt10 million from just one year of operation,” he said.
Rohima Mama, 27, an Orang Pantai Community Enterprise worker, said she used to earn Bt25 a day packing fish in a factory, but her income now was up to Bt250 a day.
“My quality of living is better, and I can save for my child’s future,” she said.