Thai finance ministry set to seek Bt2 trillion loan


BANGKOK, Jan 15 – The cabinet will be asked to approve a Bt2 trillion loan to develop mega projects on infrastructure to uplift Thailand as the communication hub of Southeast  Asia, the finance minister said.

Deputy Prime Minister/Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong said the loan will enable the government to go ahead with its development of rail system, high-speed train and motorways without touching the national budget.

The world should be aware that Thailand’s budget deficit is not an obstacle to its infrastructure development, he said, adding that a draft bill seeking the loan will be tabled to the cabinet together with details of investment and fund generating plans. After that the bill will be forwarded to Parliament for deliberations and approval.

He said the budget deficit of Bt400 billion reached in 2012 will be gradually reduced to Bt300 billion in 2013 and Bt200 billion in 2014 until it reaches a balance in the next few years.

On Thursday’s visit to Thailand by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Mr Kittiratt said the government will discuss several economic issues including Japan’s interest to invest in a rail system to meet with a planned high-speed train service on several routes: Bangkok-Chiang Mai, Bangkok-Nong Khai, Bangkok-Rayong and Bangkok-South.