Somkid: EEC, SEC on track
New government will uphold project plans
The current government's major investment projects, particularly in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) and Southern Economic Corridor (SEC), are expected to be taken up by the new government, says Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak.
"I'm not fretting over the economy because the government has already laid the foundation for significant policies and the next government is expected to continue these projects because they are good and can drive the Thai economy," he said.
Mr Somkid said that for the remaining two months before a new government is installed, the incumbent administration will speed up infrastructure development and construction in three areas: the EEC, the SEC and Northeast Economic Corridor, and the bioeconomy project.
Both the EEC and SEC are part of the government's strategy to move the economy towards high technology. The EEC, spanning Chachoengsao, Chon Buri and Rayong, will be home to 12 targeted S-curve industries: cars; smart electronics; affluent, medical and wellness tourism; agriculture and biotechnology; food; robotics for industry; logistics and aviation; biofuels and biochemicals; digital; medical services; defence; and education development.
Infrastructure bidding for EEC projects should be concluded within two months, Mr Somkid said.
High-speed trains linking three major airports -- Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang and U-tapao -- as well as the third phase of Laem Chabang port and Map Ta Phut port are at the heart of the EEC's infrastructure projects.
"Once the government can settle the bidding with private firms to construct these projects, the EEC will proceed as planned," Mr Somkid said.
He said the airport rail connection will be the country's first high-speed rail project, improving both travel and logistics.
The project can help related businesses, especially property and urban development, along the rail route.
Mr Somkid said the SEC will launch soon because part of it has been included in the 2020 budget.
The SEC scheme is part of a master plan spanning four years (2019-22), with 116 projects and a total budget of 106 billion baht, conducted by the National Economic and Social Development Council.
The southern corridor is to link the Andaman Sea, the Gulf of Thailand and other countries along the Indian Ocean rim such as India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
The cabinet in January approved the development of the SEC, covering 116 projects worth 106.79 billion baht. The 116 projects will be developed on a combined 300,000 square metres in Chumphon, Ranong, Surat Thani and Nakhon Si Thammarat during 2019-22.
The first plan covers 11 projects worth 50.3 billion baht, including the upgrade of Ranong deep-sea port and airports in four provinces.
The second plan will call for the development of tourism links between the "Royal Coast" tourism cluster, which includes Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chumphon and Ranong, and the Andaman Sea, covering 33 projects worth a combined 39.6 billion baht.
Mr Somkid expects backbone infrastructure projects, including 10 mass transit and light rail projects in the main cities of Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, Phuket and Nakhon Ratchasima, to remain on track.