Big projects facing delays, says Somkid

Big projects facing delays, says Somkid

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak

The Covid-19 pandemic has delayed major public-private partnership (PPP) projects, putting many six to 10 months behind schedule, according to Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak.

"Domestic investment plays a pivotal role for the country at the moment, so we are asking for all related agencies to accelerate such investment," said Mr Somkid after a PPP committee meeting on Friday.

The deputy prime minister urged stakeholders to move projects forward where possible. In particular, 18 high priority projects valued at 472 billion baht, according to the State Enterprise Policy Office (Sepo).

According to Sepo, 10 of these initiatives, mostly involving transport infrastructure such as high-speed rail links and inter-provincial highways, have run into hurdles. For example, the Yellow Line electric rail was delayed after the pandemic affected component manufacturing in China.

Mr Somkid said these projects could help the sagging economy and related agencies must be on high alert to prevent further delays.

To ramp up domestic investment, Mr Somkid said that state enterprises which had plans to invest next year, particularly projects which create jobs, have been asked to bring these projects forward to this year.

To speed up these schemes, he said he has assigned Sepo director-general Prapas Kong-Ied to work with state enterprises.

The Board of Investment (BoI) has also been tasked with issuing more attractive investment perks to investors especially in agriculture and tourism, according to Mr Somkid.

"The PPP committee wants to see an extension of scope in public-private investment into social, medical, public health, education and senior citizen housing complexes," he told media.

The PPP committee yesterday also approved the issuance of an organic law, that would lay the groundwork for a new scrutinising process, the drafting of terms of reference and approval procedures for projects worth less than 5 billion baht.

Previously, smaller projects had been governed solely by the responsible agencies, giving rise to allegations of corruption, he said.

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