THE CABINET yesterday gave the green light for the Southern Economic Corridor (SEC), allocating a budget of Bt106.8 billion for the development of 116 projects from 2019-2022.
The SEC is expected to spur 5 per cent annual gross domestic product growth for 10 consecutive years.
Deputy Prime Minister Nattaporn Jatusripitak said that the SEC would span the four upper southern provinces of Chumphon, Ranong, Surat Thani and Nakhon Si Thammarat, impacting the lives of some 3 million people.
The SEC will also draw 1.2 million tourists per year, a Bt200-billion increase in investment in the manufacturing sector which will be upgraded to high-tech and environmentally friendly.
The SEC aims to be Thailand’s western gateway, which will be connected within the area, with the South, the East’s special zones and with South Asia by land, air and water.
Commercial airports in the area will be developed to accommodate at least 10 million passengers per year per airport.
The National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) has outlined four dimensions of development for the SEC. The first dimension involves the development of 10 projects worth Bt49.2 billion in the Western Gateway to connect coasts along the Gulf of Thailand, coasts along the Andaman Sea and South Asian countries. The projects include improvement of the Ranong airport and port.
The second dimension involves 31 projects worth Bt39.5 billion for improvement of Chumphon airport and the Royal Coast project on the Samut Songkram-Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan-Chumphon-Ranong routes for tourism.
The third dimension is to develop 32 projects worth about Bt6.49 billion for bio-based and processed agricultural industry. Centres for economic aquatic animals and rubber innovations will be set up.
The fourth dimension is to promote 38 projects worth Bt7.12 billion for green culture smart and liveable cities.
At yesterday’s meeting, the Cabinet also gave the nod to eight quick-execution projects worth Bt2.68 billion. These include a Bt70-million infrastructure and marketing promotion project of the Ranong port for the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, the Bt158.2-million Ranong airport improvement project, and the Bt2.23-billion telecommunication infrastructure project for the Asean Digital Hub.
The remaining five projects worth about Bt448.69 million will be financed from the fiscal 2019 budget.
These range from a Bt132.8-million tourism development project for the Phayam island off Ranong, a Bt85.5-million mangrove project off Ranong, a Bt194.6-million integrated herb processing promotion project, a Bt12.64-million project for ageing people in Chumphon and a Bt20-million project to set up a research centre in the SEC.