PPP motorway bids worth B140bn tipped
Transport Ministry to use scheme often
Bids for public-private partnerships (PPP) to operate and maintain two motorways worth 140 billion baht are expected to be completed this year.
The two projects are motorways linking Ayutthaya's Bang Pa-in district with Nakhon Ratchasima province and Nonthaburi's Bang Yai district with Kanchanaburi, said Ekniti Nitithanprapas, director-general of the State Enterprise Policy Office (Sepo).
The government has already approved three projects worth around 190 billion baht under the PPP scheme. They are the 34.5-kilometre Pink Line, costing 56.6 billion baht, stretching from Nonthaburi's Khae Rai district to Bangkok's Min Buri district, the 30.4km Yellow Line valued at 54.6 billion baht linking Bangkok's Lat Phrao district and Samut Prakan's Samrong district, and the Blue Line's extension worth 83.8 billion.
He said the Transport Ministry plans to put additional big infrastructure projects almost 600 billion baht under the PPP scheme.
The projects include three electric train routes, two high-speed train routes and a motorway. The three electric trains are the Purple Line between the Kanchanaphisek Outer Ring Road and Tao Pun, expected to cost 131 billion baht, the Orange Line's eastern and western sections worth 196 billion, and a route connecting Phuket airport and Chalong Circle worth 39.4 billion.
The Bangkok-Rayong high-speed railway is projected to cost 152 billion baht while the Bangkok-Chiang Mai high-speed railway has its investment budget under study.
A motorway linking Nakhon Pathom and Cha-am in Phetchaburi is expected to cost 80 billion baht.
The government is stepping up efforts to accelerate big-ticket infrastructure investment to boost economic growth and trigger the crowding-in effect for private investment.
One method is streamlining the joint investment process between the public and private sectors.
Mr Ekniti said Sepo is amending the State Undertakings Act to shorten the PPP process to less than nine months by applying the fast-track PPP scheme framework.
In the meantime, Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong assured that accelerating state investment over the next four to five years will increase to around 48-49% of gross domestic product (GDP), well below the level set under the Finance Ministry's sustainable fiscal framework at 60% of economic value.
The public debt-to-GDP ratio now stands at around 42%.
The government also expects to maintain the budget deficit at no more than 3% of GDP, though the investment budget accounts for 20-25% of the annual budget.
He said the government must create an S-curve economic model to help Thailand escape the middle-income trap and upgrade to a high-income economy.
The S-curve is a model under which a new business with higher technology and innovation is created at a time when the company's growth reaches its peak and begins to taper off.
The 10 targeted industries support the S-curve economy are next-generation cars, smart electronics, affluent medical and wellness tourism, agriculture and biotechnology, food, robotics for industry, logistics and aviation, biofuels and biochemicals, digital, and medical services.