Election pegged to spur confidence and GDP

Election pegged to spur confidence and GDP

Election posters along a Bangkok street. The government predicts a two-part economic boost just by holding the March 24 election. (File photo)
Election posters along a Bangkok street. The government predicts a two-part economic boost just by holding the March 24 election. (File photo)

The government is confident the country's economic growth in 2019 will exceed 4.1% as the general election will improve confidence among businesses and investors, as well as the full implementation of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) scheme.

"We hope the next administration after the election continues our ongoing projects to drive the economy to gain more than 4.1% growth in 2019," said Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak.

"The government is trying to push forward the country's GDP with many investment policies before a new government takes over. If the new government keeps our policies, we believe the economy will grow more than 4.1%".

Mr Somkid said GDP in the second half of 2019 will expand on the confidence of business operators and investors after they witness stability after the election.

GDP in the fourth quarter of 2018 rose 3.7% and full-year growth was 4.1%, indicating a healthy economy, he said.

Mr Somkid said Thailand remains a promising investment destination in the region, with the government promoting megaprojects in the EEC as GDP is expected to jump.

The five EEC projects are -- U-tapao aviation city (worth 290 billion baht); a maintenance, repair and overhaul centre (10.6 billion); a high-speed railway linking three airports (225 billion); the third phase of Laem Chabang port (114 billion baht); and the third phase of the Map Ta Phut port (55.4 billion baht).

All are in the three EEC provinces of Chachoengsao, Chon Buri and Rayong.

The EEC scheme is the country's special economic zone, expected to draw more than 1.7 trillion baht in investment value by 2021.

"Once these five projects can be carried out by the next administration, they can build Thailand's economic competitiveness in this region," said Mr Somkid.

Supant Mongkolsuthree, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), said business operators are concerned about the baht's strength as the currency has gained 2.73% against the US dollar this year.

"The baht has been the second strongest performer in Asia after the yen, which gained 3.0%," said Mr Supant.

"Indonesia and Vietnam gained 2.29% and 0.36%, respectively, and both countries are export competitors."

He said the FTI plans to meet with the central bank soon to address the baht's appreciation.

Mr Somkid said the central bank is handling baht movement.

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