The cabinet on Tuesday approved a plan to build a 4.6-billion-baht observation tower in Bangkok without a call for bids.
Athisit Chainuwat, an assistant to the government spokesman, said the cabinet agreed with the Treasury Department's proposal to bypass bidding for the project due to concern about a possible delay and lack of interest from construction firms.
The 459-metre-high tower will be built on a land plot of the department by the Chao Phraya River in Soi Charoen Nakhon 7 in Khlong San district.
The construction cost, estimated at 4.42 billion baht, will bet financed the Bangkok Observation Tower Foundation, loans from financial institutions and donations. The government, by the Treasury Department, will co-invest in the amount equivalent to the 30-year rentals of the plot.
A project more than 1 billion baht with the use fo state land plots normally has to be carried out as a public-private partnership with calls for bids to ensure transparency.
The project was approved in December last year to be a new landmark in the capital but construction has not been started.
Col Athisit said a company to be picked to build the tower has to show a blueprint on traffic management, environmental conservation and community development to the department and the Finance Ministry.
The tower will be the first in Bangkok to draw tourists to the capital. It will showcase royal projects of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej among others to be on display.
According to earlier reports, the Bangkok Observation Tower Foundation, a private-sector organisation, had a seed fund of 500,000 baht. It intended to borrow 2.5 billion baht for the project and donations are projected at 2.1 billion baht.
The project estimated revenue from admission fees at 1.1 billion baht a year against expenses of 892 million baht. The admission fee will be 750 baht and Thais will get a 50% discount. Revenue after expenses will go to charity.