Government gears up to restore investor confidence

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NONTHABURI, Nov 24 – In an attempt to restore confidence among Japanese investors in post-flood Thailand, Deputy Prime Minister/Commerce Minister Kittirat Na Ranong on Thursday said he will visit Tokyo Monday to provide better understanding among Thailand-concerned Japanese investors regarding the Thai government’s post-flood rehabilitation plan.

Mr Kittirat said Virabongsa Ramangura, head of the government’s committee to formulate strategies to reconstruct and develop the country for the future, will accompany him during the trip.

The deputy prime minister downplayed concerns that the worst flooding in decades might prompt some Japanese investors to relocate their investment elsewhere, saying he would urgently speed up solving the problem and rehabilitating the special industrial zones as earlier promised.

“Water drainage at major industrial estates would be carried out this month through mid-December so that some plants could resume operations and that will help restore confidence among foreign investors,” he said.

Meanwhile, Industry Minister Wannarat Channukul told reporters after having discussion with Izumi Arai, Vice Chairman of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) that the Japanese agency stood ready to provide post-flood technical and financial assistance to Thailand.

“JICA will initially extend financial assistance of 500 million yen for construction of a flood-prevention dyke at a designated industrial estate as a prototype for future flood-prevention wall,” the Thai industry minister said.

He added that the ministry would soon select one of seven flooded industrial estates for such a purpose.

Regarding the restoration of the submerged industrial estates, Mr Wannarat said the  floodwaters continue to recede at the Bangchan and Latkrabang industrial estates on the eastern part of Bangkok. 32 out of 93 plants at Factory Land are now operating, while some factories in the Bangpa-in Industrial Estate are expected to resume production next week.

The Rojana and Hi-Tech industrial estates are likely to be operating again in late December. Currently, water drainage is under way at the Navanakorn, Bangkadi and Saharattananakorn industrial estates.

The industry minister said estimates of Thailand’s flood damage losses in the industrial sector will be reviewed once the floodwaters have gone.