The cabinet yesterday approved a proposal to establish a special development zone at Chana district in Songkhla covering 16,753 rai, with an investment of 18.7 billion baht.
Rachada Dhnadirek, a deputy government spokeswoman, said the new special economic zone will help develop the four southernmost provinces.
Songkhla was deemed an appropriate location to set up the zone because the province boasts a deep-sea port that can facilitate imports and exports.
The cabinet also approved developing five projects in the zone, comprising new town planning in three tambons; water transport and a deep-sea port in Songkhla; land transport linked to the main highway and local roads; electricity plants from natural gas, solar cell or renewable energy; and an industrial estate.
The development projects are expected to create 100,000 new jobs.
Of the total 16,753 rai of the plot, 4,253 rai will be slated for light industries; 4,000 for heavy industries; 4,000 for four power plants with 3,700 megawatts; 2,000 for related industries for export and import; 2,000 for logistics and goods distribution; and 500 for recreation areas and accommodation.
Related agencies are required to work on a feasibility study on the development projects.
According to Ms Rachada, the cabinet also approved an economic development plan for Narathiwat province, which includes an industrial estate at Narathiwat Special Economic Zone.
The Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre was assigned to purchase 1,683 rai of land from the private sector with a budget of 390 million baht.
About 600 rai will be developed as an industrial estate by the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand, with 1,000 rai set aside for rent to the private sector, and the remaining 79 rai for the offices of state agencies.
In a separate development, the cabinet approved a five-year capital increase framework for the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives to 80 billion baht by 2024 from 60 billion in 2020.