Thailand moves ahead with ambitious mega-infrastructure project

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BANGKOK, Aug 29 – Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong stood firm Wednesday that the government will go ahead with an ambitious plan of mega-infrastructure investment without exceeding the public-debt-to-GDP ratio of 60 per cent.

Speaking on “The Changing Face of Thailand,” Mr Kittiratt, also deputy premier, expressed his confidence in Thailand’s economic growth despite global economic volatility, saying the government is emphasizing infrastructure investment, valued at two trillion baht, which will become a tool in connecting low-income and high-income countries in the ASEAN region to work together for communication, trade and investment development.

He called on the Thai Parliament to pass the government-proposed law on public-private sector partnership to enable public-private investment for the country’s infrastructure projects. The government is currently working on an infrastructure fund to be submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission to be listed in the stock market.

Mr Kittiratt was a key speaker in a seminar on “Thailand Focus 2012” organised by the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) on Wednesday.

SET President Charamporn Jotikasthira, addressing the seminar, said the impact on Thailand from the European Union’s economic crisis, including SET-listed companies, has been slight.

He said executives of major companies in ASEAN countries including Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam were invited to the seminar so that the Indochina economies will be adjusted to the direction beneficial to SET-listed companies in Thailand.

Bank of Thailand Governor Prasarn Trairatvorakul, in his speech on “Thailand’s Monetary Market vis-à-vis Global Funds,” warned that the impact of the EU crisis towards Thailand’s trade will arise next year.

However, Thailand will be able to cope with it thanks to her strong economy and fundamentals.