Government asserts Bt2 trillion loans manageable

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BANGKOK, Dec 28 – The Thai government’s plan to seek Bt2 trillion loans will raise the country’s public debt to 49.9 per cent in 2016, a level  which is manageable, according to the Finance Ministry.

Chularat Sutheethorn, director of the Public Debt Management Office (PDMO), said a bill on the Bt2 trillion loans for infrastructure investment will be proposed by the government to parliament next year, adding that the amount of loans remain lower than the required fiscal sustainability level of 60 per cent.

She said the PDMO will start securing loans in the 2014 budget year if the bill is passed.

Apart from the Bt2 trillion loans, the PDMO will need to seek additional lending for several other projects in the next seven years including Bt340 billion for water management. The government has already acquired Bt10 billion for that purpose.

She said the PDMO plans to issue bonds in international markets for the Bt340 billion expenditure.

Ms Chularat added that Thailand’s outstanding public debt as of October this year was Bt4.82 trillion (about US$156 billion) or 43.27 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP).