PM: Govt ready to defend loan bill
- Published: 26/03/2013 at 04:19 PM
- Online news:
Cabinet ministers are well prepared to explain to the parliament the need for the government to raise huge loans for investment in infrastructure development megaprojects, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said on Tuesday.
Ms Yingluck was responding to a move by some senators, who want the Constitution Court to rule on the legality of the two-trillion-baht infrastructure borrowing bill, due to be tabled in the House of Representatives on Thursday.
The prime minister said the loan bill is legal. All MPs could express their views during the debate on the legislation, scheduled for March 28 and 29.
The government had already clarified the need for the loans and the government’s planned infrastructure overhaul at an exposition held at the Chaeng Wattana government complex recently.
The government would put its utmost effort into the betterment of the country, Ms Ying luck said. She had confidence that the loan bill would be approved by the parliament.
Opposition chief whip Jurin Luksanavisit said on Tuesday that the opposition did not oppose the plan for the country’s infrastructure development.
But the opposition disagreed with the need for such a huge loan acquisition. When interest was included the government’s public debt would much more than five trillion baht, he said.
The government could raise the funds through other channels, including co-investing with the private sector or grant concessions to the private sector.
The plan for such huge loans would commit the next 12 governments to debt repayment obligations and be a huge debt burden on all Thai people, Mr Jurin said.
The opposition chief whip said 60 MPs of the Democrat and Bhumjaithai parties were lined up to debate the government’s loan bill on Thursday and Friday.
The House debate will be from 9.30am to 10pm each day, with opposition MPs allowed a total of 12 hours and government MPs 12 hours 30 minutes.
Mr Jurin called on government MPs to debate the loan bill in a constructive way, not waste time in political argument about previous development schemes by the previous government.
Montri Sokatiyanuluck, a lecturer at the National Institute of Development Administration (Nida), said on Tuesday that now it is a good opportunity to invest in infrastructure development for the country in preparation for the debut of the Asean Economic Community in December 2015.
He did not expect investment in the megaprojects would create a heavy public debt burden, because the needed loans would be gradually acquired.
However, Mr Montri suggested the government should encourage private companies with high potential and capability to co-invest in such development megaprojects.
The private sector could setup infrastructure funding to raise the needed capital for financing the megaprojects, he said. This way, the government would be able to minimise risk and concerns about increasing public debt.
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