Thai cabinet approves $8.5 billion economic development plan
BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand’s cabinet on Tuesday approved a new economic development plan, worth at least 300 billion baht ($8.5 billion), as part a wider infrastructure push by the junta as it seeks to boost a sluggish economy.
Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy has struggled since the army took power in May 2014 and exports and consumption remain weak.
The junta has introduced stimulus measures and ramped up investment, although big infrastructure projects have been slow to get under way.
The Eastern Economic Corridor Development plan is to develop logistic connections between three eastern provinces – Chonburi, Rayong, and Chachoengsao – as the country’s latest new economic zone, Porametee Vimolsiri, head of the National Economic and Social Development Board, told reporters.
The initial investment is expected at at least 300 billion baht which will be funded by the government budget, the private sector and public-private partnerships, he said.
Details of the project will be drawn out within the next three months by Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, who will be working with relevant ministries.
The central bank has forecast 2016 economic growth of 3.1 percent, up from 2.8 percent last year.
(Reporting By Pracha Hariraksapitak and Kitiphong Thaicharoen; Writing by Pairat Temphairojana; Editing by Nick Macfie)