PPP will fund 20% of new infrastructure

The State Enterprise Policy Office (Sepo) expects joint investment by the private sector and retail investors will account for 20% of the 2.4 trillion baht worth of planned infrastructure projects.

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Director-general Kulit Sombatsiri said on Monday the private sector would enter into infrastructure joint ventures with the public sector through the new Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Act that took effect last year. Retail investors can plough their money into these projects through infrastructure funds.

To ensure the Act applies to these projects, the Finance Ministry must issue eight ministerial regulations including those governing project value calculation, he said. The PPP Act requires all projects worth 1 billion baht or more to carry out a feasibility study. It is also aimed at streamlining project approvals.

The law requires the establishment of a national PPP committee chaired by the prime minister, with the finance minister acting as vice-chairman and Sepo the PPP secretariat.

The committee will be responsible for mapping out investment plans and approving projects worth 1 billion baht or more, including some of lower value if the committee deems approvals are essential.

The Act sets a clear time frame for the approval process, with the government agency responsible for a particular project conducting a feasibility study to assess the viability of the project before forwarding it to Sepo, which will make a proposal to ministers within 45 days. The attorney-general must complete consideration of the contract draft within 45 days. Then ministers forward the draft to the cabinet for final approval within 30 days.

The National Council for Peace and Order approved a 2.4-trillion-baht infrastructure development plan last week, with electric trains, double-track rail, water and air transport and a highway network linking neighbouring countries included. The eight-year plan will span 2015-22.

Borrowing and other sources of funding will be used to finance construction costs, while expenses incurred from design and expropriation will come from the annual budget. The Budget Bureau has set aside 10 billion baht in the fiscal 2015 budget to finance logistics development.

Mr Kulit said some state enterprises would raise funds from the public by offering infrastructure funds to finance their investment plans. The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand plans to raise 16 billion baht in this manner, using proceeds to finance power plant construction, while the Port Authority of Thailand and Airports of Thailand Plc are considering infrastructure funds.

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