State to set up SEZ supervisory
The government is establishing the Office of the Special Economic Development Zone to supervise all special economic zones (SEZs).
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said the National Economic and Social Development Council has been assigned to study upgrading the Office of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) to the Office of the Special Economic Zone, which will be tasked with taking care of all SEZs, including the future Southern Economic Corridor, Lanna Creative Corridor in the North and Bio-Economic Corridor in eastern and central areas.
"The government wants to make the best progress on all SEZs," Mr Somkid said. "And the new office will be a single unit that takes responsibility for the development."
He said the cabinet approved the southern corridor plan a year ago, but the project has made little progress because there is no agency to push development.
The Southern Economic Corridor will link the Andaman Sea, the Gulf of Thailand and other countries along the Indian Ocean rim, such as India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
The corridor includes 116 projects worth 107 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's 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.
Kobsak Pootrakool, deputy secretary-general to prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha for political affairs, said economic ministers have scheduled to meet on Jan 31 to consider the next phase of EEC development, especially investment and smart cities.