IEAT plan for Chon Buri to forge ahead

IEAT plan for Chon Buri to forge ahead

The new coronavirus outbreak, which has spread to 56 provinces in less than a month, is threatening to affect short-term investment in Thailand as it is sapping business confidence, says the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT).

Yet the IEAT remains firm on its plans to develop a new industrial area in the red zone province of Chon Buri.

As daily infection rates remain volatile, including newly-found cases in factories, this has lead the state to impose travel restrictions and order some businesses to shut, so Thai industry is beginning to undergo subsequent impact amid these developments.

The pandemic is dealing a blow to businesses, IEAT governor Somchint Pilouk said yesterday.

The surge of infections, which began to emerge around the middle of December, came just as the IEAT is preparing to co-develop a new industrial estate in Chon Buri, one of five provinces declared as being the most at-risk zones with strict restrictions imposed. The other four provinces are Chanthaburi, Rayong, Samut Sakhon and Trat.

Ms Somchint said the IEAT will continue with its industrial estate development projects to serve long-term investments in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), Thailand's new high-tech industry hub covering Chachoengsao, Chon Buri and Rayong.

"We are optimistic the government can cope with the new Covid-19 outbreak," Ms Somchint said. State economic relief packages and its plan to distribute vaccines should help, she said.

IEAT signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday with Rojana Industrial Park Plc to co-develop Rojana Nongyai Industrial Estate, which spans 1,987 rai in Chon Buri's Nong Yai and Ban Bung districts. The investment is valued at 4.12 billion baht.

Developers plan to allocate 1.88 billion baht (45.7% of the budget) for the purchase of land. The largest portion of the funds -- 2.24 billion baht -- will go towards infrastructure development.

The IEAT expects parts of the land in Rojana Nongyai Industrial Estate to be sold out within three years, with some being rented by new factories within five years. Ms Somchint said the project is projected to create 60 billion baht in investment value and generate new jobs for 15,014 workers.

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