Govt to accelerate megaprojects as PPP

Economy September 17, 2018 01:00

By Wichit Chaitrong
The Nation

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Two new laws to be passed before election for supervision of state enterprises



Three more mass-transit lines worth Bt 400 billion will go through the fast-track public private partnerships (PPP) process while two new draft laws related to PPP and state enterprise supervision would be passed by the National Legislative Assembly before the general election scheduled for February next year, said Prapas KongIed, director-general of the State Enterprise Policy Office(SEPO).

The extension of the Orange Line in Bangkok – Bang Khun Non-Minburi section – worth Bt238 billion is expected to be submitted to the PPP committee chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak by November this year. Then it would be forwarded to the Cabinet for approval, said Prapas. The Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) board has already approved the project.

Extension of the Purple Line’s Tao Poon-Kanchanapisek Outer Ring Road section, worth Bt128 billion, is also expected to be submitฌted to the PPP committee in the same month. 

The project has not yet got final approval from the MRTA board. “We will ask the MRTA to accelerate the approval process in order to make it go through the PPP this year,” Prapas said.

The new draft PPP law is expected to be submitted to the NLA in November this year. 

The amendment of the Private Investment in State Undertakings Act BE 2556 (2013) will speed up the PPP projects process than at present, he said. 

The move would reduce the time for project approval by the PPP board to about six months from an average 44 months under the current law, he said.

The law will also specifically define PPP projects by giving priority to infrastructure projects, which the government wants to promote, such as roads, railways, airports and seaports. 

The scope of the PPP projects would be narrowed and it would not cover public land rent for example, he said.

The next draft law would regulate state-run enterprises. As part of state enterprise reform, the state-owned enterprise super-board chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha had recommended setting up a holding company, similar to Temasek Holdings of Singapore, to own and manage state-run enterprises. 

Recently, the NLA had toned down the original version, which will require the setting up of a holding company to manage state-run enterprises that operate commercial businesses, such as PTT, Thai Airways, and Krung Thai Bank. 

Under the revised version, there would be no clause on a national corporation. 

All state enterprises would be under the supervision of the State Enterprise Policy Committee (SEPO) chaired by the prime minister and the SEPO would act as secretariat, he said.

He said the new law would ensure transparency in selecting directors and managing state-run enterprises. It would prevent intervention by politicians. Professionals would be appointed to the board of directors of state-run enterprises, he said.

Regarding mass-transit projects in large cities like Phuket, Chiang Mai and Nakhon Ratchasima, the SEPO would strive to accelerate those projects but they may not get a nod from the PPP board this year.

The light rail-transit project worth Bt39 billion in Phuket may get PPP approval in late January or early February next year, he added.

Meanwhile Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said on Friday that the large public spending on mega-projects, including the high speed rail connecting three international airports, new investment in the U-tapao airport and expansion of deep seaports at Laem Chabang and Map Ta Phut, would be injected into the economy by the first half of next year, boosting faster growth of the economy than in the current year.