Five Thailand PPPs given green light

The Ministry of Finance is set to establish an infrastructure fund to cover the projects, which have a combined investment value of $5.5bn.

Thailand’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) committee has agreed to roll out five mega-projects, comprising three Metropolitan Rapid Transit (MRT) projects in Bangkok, and two waste-to-energy power plants, worth about THB200 billion (€4.9 billion; $5.5 billion) in total.

The THB56.72 billion MRT Pink Line will link Kaerai and Min Buri while the THB54.7 billion MRT Yellow Line will allow passengers to commute between Lat Phrao and Samrong. The THB82.4 billion MRT Blue Line extension project will extend the existing Hua Lamphong-Bang Sue line to Bang Khae. 

It is reported that CH Karnchang, Thailand’s second-biggest infrastructure developer and constructor, has expressed interest in participating in the bidding for the MRT projects. The company is also the concessionaire of the nearly-completed MRT Purple Line.

On the other hand, the project cost of the Nonthaburi waste-to-energy PPP project is estimated at THB4.14 billion while the one in Nakhon Ratchasima is expected to cost THB2.25 billion. 

According to the government’s news portal, Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said the implementation of the projects will begin within five years under the country’s infrastructure development plan. 

The Ministry of Finance will find sources of loans for the projects and establish an infrastructure fund to mobilise the government’s investment. 

Apisak Tantivorawong, Thailand’s Minister of Finance, said that the government is aiming to create a common infrastructure fund for mega-infrastructure development projects, with an initial budget of THB200 billion, gathered from both Thai and foreign investors. 

The infrastructure fund will initially cover the five infrastructure projects mentioned above to encourage the private sector to participate in government-led investment projects and lower the government’s financial burden.

The PPP Act has also been amended to cover PPP projects worth THB5 billion or above in order to ease the bottleneck in the government’s approval process. It implies that PPP projects worth less than THB5 billion in value will no longer need to be submitted to the PPP Policy Committee for consideration. The current ceiling is at THB1 billion.

Jatusripitak said the decision has long been in the making, with an aim to reduce government spending and increase investment flexibility.

In addition, the infrastructure development plan was approved last year with a budget of THB2.4 trillion. More than 70 percent of the budget is devoted to restructuring the country’s transportation system.

The government also plans to accelerate other transport and logistics projects, including rail, road and air, with total investment value of THB1.77 trillion.