State enterprises to ramp up investments
B429bn a year from 2023-25 expected
State-owned enterprises are projected to rev up their investments during 2023-2025 after the Covid-19 outbreak eases.
The government's planning unit, the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC), estimates state-owned enterprises will invest an average of 429 billion baht a year during 2023-2025.
Rachada Dhnadirek, a deputy government spokeswoman, said many ailing state-owned enterprises were capable of rehabilitating their businesses during that period.
In fiscal 2021, ending on Sept 30 this year, the government allocated 1.51 trillion baht as an operating budget and 291 billion baht as an investment budget for 44 state-owned enterprises.
For the investment budget, the transport and logistics sector accounted for 93.1 billion baht, with electricity development at 101 billion, waterworks development 25.6 billion, social investment 5.8 billion, environmental conservation 3.67 billion and farm sector development 1.34 billion.
The remaining 11 billion baht is for industrial estate development, tourism, and research.
Significant projects for transport and logistics development include the first phase of the Thai-Sino high-speed rail linking Bangkok and Nong Khai (Bangkok-Nakhon Ratchasima section); the double-track rail network linking Nakhon Pathom-Chumphon; the eastern section of Bangkok's Orange Line, stretching from the Thailand Cultural Centre to Min Buri; the expressway linking Rama III Road-Dao Khanong and the western Outer Ring Road; and the first phase of Phuket's mass transit project (Phuket airport-Chalong intersection).
Other key investment projects include housing project construction for low-income earners and a smart industrial park development owned by the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand at the Eastern Economic Corridor and Songkhla province.
Another project involves the improvement of Phuket's airport.
Ms Rachada said the cabinet at Tuesday's meeting approved the framework for a fiscal and investment budget for 44 state-owned enterprises under 15 ministries in fiscal 2022.
The budget includes 1.48 trillion baht set aside as an operating budget and 307 billion as an investment budget.
The budget allocated is expected to increase the country's economic growth by 0.17 percentage points.
According to the NESDC report, once the investment budget of five public companies and their subsidiaries is included, the combined investment budget of state-owned enterprises in fiscal 2022 will top 469 billion baht, which is estimated to boost economic growth by 0.31 percentage points, create 163,000 jobs and generate 124 billion baht for the government's treasury.
The report found state-owned enterprises between 2017-2021 were severely affected by the weak global economy and Covid-19 outbreaks.
Return on equity averaged 9%, which was considered a relatively good rate, but average return on assets was only 4.5%, which is low compared with assets being worth up to 3.66 trillion baht, according to the report.
The NESDC advised state agencies to diversify their businesses to invest in targeted industries such as electric vehicles or investment projects relating to the bio-, circular and green economy, which should help them keep abreast of digital disruption, changing consumer behaviours, potential disasters and the pandemic.