Academics back B2 trln megaprojects
All parties should support the government’s planned investment in infrastructure development megaprojects, Anusorn Thammajai, dean of economics at Rangsit University said at a seminar at parliament on Wednesday.
- Published: 27/03/2013 at 01:28 PM
- Newspaper section: news
The government will table its two-trillion-baht infrastructure borrowing bill in the House on Thursday.
The legislation enables the government to raise huge loans, both foreign and domestic, for infrastructure development, with repayments spread over 50 years.
At a seminar on “the two-trillion-baht loan bill: Thailand’s changing point” held at the parliament, Mr Anusorn said the infrastructure overhaul, especially the development of new transportation systems, will ensure the country does not lose opportunities through lack of a good infrastructure system.
Information on the megaprojects provided by the government clearly showed that the planned rail and road network development projects would be linked to those of neighbouring countries and this will be beneficial to the country, he said.
Because of the limited budget, the government has to acquire loans to finance these megaprojects.
Mr Anusorn said the Public Debt Management Office had affirmed that even though the two trillion baht in loans were to be raised over the same period, the public debt would still be lower than 50% of gross domestic product, and well below the 60% set public debt ceiling.
The loan bill had become a political issue for political gain. In fact, the loans would be gradually acquired at an average of 200-300 billion baht a year, he said.
The loan bill would increase confidence among Thai and foreign investors, and the people, that the government would have sufficient funds for the work, he said.
Thawatchai Laosirihongthong, of King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi, said the government’s plans for development of a dual rail tracks system would make it easier for people to travel, and they would get there quicker.
The connectivity of transportation networks would strengthen the country’s competitiveness. It was necessary for Thailand to link its transportation networks to the transportation channels of neighbouring countries, he said.
Keerati Kitmanawat, an export in mass transit systems, said government investment in infrastructure development is crucial for the country, particularly improving the logistics system. It was part of preparations for the launch of the Asean Economic Community in December 2015, he said.
Boonsab Panichakarn, director of the School of Logistics and Supply Chain at Naresuan University, said it was most important that the railway system be developed.
Railways were valued worldwide as being effective and operating on schedule, he added.
In the meantime, the government should also pay attention to the country’s road system because, with the exception ofmotorways, many roads were not in any condition to be linked to a real transportation system, Mr Boonsab said.
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- Writer: Online Reporters
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