CHIANG RAI – Prime Minister Prayut promised yesterday that the government would seek appropriate solutions in a bid to ease investor concerns and concerns over the enforcement of martial law in Special Economic Zones.
The government has designated border provinces like Chiang Rai to be Special Economic Zones but the provinces are still under martial law and experiencing heightened border security.
The Special Economic Zones border with Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Malaysia, where security sensitivities lie due to the threat of insurgency, smuggling and trafficking.
Financial institutions are reluctant to provide loans for Special Economic Zones investments that cannot be covered by insurance.
After yesterday’s meeting with the Policy Committee on Special Economic Zone Development, the premier said he was aware of the impact martial law was having and he would find an acceptable solution to help reduce the problem.
“It should be possible “”to grant insurance coverage to investors”. However, I will take this matter into account,” General Prayut said.
Prayut did not comment on the when the nationwide martial law will end.
He said the Special Economic Zones should be areas where different economic activities can take place, including investment in various industrial sectors, and where the private sector could invest to increase competitiveness and strengthen local economies and industries such as agriculture and tourism.
Following the meeting with the policy committee, the committee and the government agreed to establish a new sub-committee consisting of representatives of the private sectors, who will provide recommendations |concerning investor interests and the promotion of the Special Economic Zones.
Also at the meeting it was agreed to nominate 16 districts in five additional provinces for the second phase of the Special Economic Zones push.
They are Muang Nong Khai, Phon Phisai, Si Chiang Mai, Tha Bo and Sa Khrai (Nong Khai); Mae Sai, Chiang Saen and Chiang Khong (Chiang Rai); Muang Narathiwat, Tak Bai, Rangae, Waeng, Sungai Kolok and Yi-ngor (Narathiwat); Muang Nakhon Phanom and Tha Uthen (Nakhon Phanom); and Muang Kanchanaburi (Kanchanaburi).
Last year, Cabinet approved five potential border areas in Tak, Sa Kaew, Trat, Mukdahan and Songkhla to be developed as the country’s first SEZs to enhance economic integration with neigh?bouring countries for the full implementation of the Asean Economic Community at the end of the year.
At yesterday’s meeting it was also agreed to nominating 13 groups of economic activities as a priority for investment in the Special Economic Zones. They cover a broad range of economic activities, from agriculture to tourism-support industries.
Areas, including Tak, Sa Kaew, Trat, Mukdahan, Songkhla and Nong Khai, will be designated as special zones for industrial estate.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayut said more dialogue was needed with neighbouring countries to enhance this project, which should benefit Thailand and be environmental friendly.
By Wiraj Sripong