Industry Ministry upbeat on EEC investment
Regional roadshows aim to lure inflows
The Industry Ministry forecasts investment flows in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) to begin from 2020, largely into the 12 targeted industries after the government begins to develop five megaprojects in the corridor.
There is some progress on the Map Ta Phut seaport, high-speed railway linking three airports and the U-tapao airport to build up investor confidence, said Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit.
The five projects are worth 695 billion baht.
Mr Suriya said the government will promote roadshows in China, Japan and Vietnam to attract investors with incentives for the EEC.
"The 12 targeted industries are a part of the S-curve policy, expected to be the second phase of the corridor," he said.
Mr Suriya said the government has promoted four industrial estates, spanning 6,306 rai, in the EEC and surrounding provinces: Samut Prakan, Prachin Buri, Rayong and Chon Buri.
"The four industrial estates will create investment flows worth 185 billion baht and lead to 46,310 new jobs," he said.
Mr Suriya outlined yesterday progress during the first 99 days since he was installed as the head of ministry on July 19.
"I am satisfied with all achievements, largely in support of Thai small and medium-sized enterprises [SMEs]," he said.
Mr Suriya said the ministry plans to provide soft loans worth 3 billion baht under the Pracha Rat scheme in 2020.
This scheme focuses on SMEs in the agriculture, creative economy and digital sectors.
The loans offer an interest rate of 1% per year for seven years. Each borrower can take out a maximum of 3 million baht. This budget is part of the 20-billion-baht Pracha Rat fund, aiming to help SMEs.
In 2017, the government provided soft loans to 10,567 SMEs worth a combined 16.1 billion baht. The Pracha Rat fund has 3.8 billion baht.
"The ministry wants to support local SMEs in line with the Thailand 4.0 initiative, pushing forward the economy and improving SMEs' efficiency," said Mr Suriya.
SMEs account for 80% of the country's GDP, making them a key engine for the economy, he said.