Megaproject Watchdog to be Chaired by Prayut Chan-o-cha

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Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will chair a working panel that aims to monitor government megaproject progress. The panel will monitor infrastructure and water development projects and will ease doing business in the country by offering legal amendment proposals.

General Prayut states, “The government needs to accelerate these projects to increase Thailand’s competitiveness.”

Thailand’s economy has been slowly growing, with much of the country’s growth attributed to government stimulus measures and megaprojects. Twenty megaprojects are expected to start construction this year with a value of 1.6 trillion baht. The projects are part of the government’s plan to stimulate the economy.

Private investment in the country is also being promoted. The cabinet has approved 460 billion baht worth of projects, 11 in total, that are set to be completed by 2022. There are eight projects currently under construction in the country.

Bids for three rail projects are expected to be open to bidders later this month.

The government has stated its commitment to accelerate two high-speed rails in the country, valued at 153 billion baht and 94.7 billion baht.

Finance Minister Apisak Tantiworawang announced in a separate statement yesterday that the ministry will not retroactively apply a development land tax on infrastructure projects. The announcement allows for landowners to be free from tax liabilities for benefits gained from state investment.

Taxes are charged on increased land prices, according to Mr. Apisak. Britain, Japan and some states in the United States have implemented similar tax structures, according to Mr. Apisak. The tax is a one-time charge on land that has benefitted from the government’s investment in infrastructure.

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