Perk upgrades urged for 3 new economic corridors

Perk upgrades urged for 3 new economic corridors

The government needs to revamp investment privileges to support the smooth development of three new economic corridors that are instrumental to increasing investment and rehabilitating the economy over the next 5-6 years, says a central planner.

According to Anek Memongkol, deputy secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Council, the Northern Economic Corridor (NEC), the Northeastern Economic Corridor (NEEC) and the Southern Economic Corridor are similar in form to the flagship Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC). They are scheduled to be promoted in the 13th national economic and social development plan that spans 2023-27.

"The government needs to speed up designing not only investment privileges, but also infrastructure projects and related facilities to enable the creation of special development zones while supporting the role of community development," said Mr Anek. "The government also needs to drive more serious regional development to distribute income to provincial areas and generate economic growth after the pandemic."

The NEC is designated to cover four northern provinces: Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Lampang and Chiang Rai.

The cabinet in early 2020 approved in principle the NEC development plan, with a target to upgrade income for people in the region, promote community and cultural tourism as well as improve products in the region for export.

He said the NEC has the physical infrastructure for road linkage to neighbouring countries and nearby provinces. This corridor has high potential to develop products for export, said Mr Anek.

"To enhance the competitiveness of businesses and communities in the North, the government may need to develop more infrastructure and facilities including 5G technology in the four northern provinces to help businesses and communities improve their technology," he said.

The NEEC covers Udon Thani, Khon Kaen and Nakhon Ratchasima provinces. The corridor is expected to manufacture products to supply the EEC and China, with an emphasis on bio-economy development because of plentiful raw materials such as rice, tapioca and sugar cane. Many companies have shown interest in developing bio-economy projects in the NEEC, said Mr Anek.

The government needs to speed up construction of a 202-kilometre Nakhon Ratchasima-Khon Kaen motorway to support the corridor, he said. The Transport Ministry completed a feasibility study on the four-lane motorway estimated to cost 104 billion baht. An environmental impact assessment and design of the project are slated for 2022.

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