BANGKOK – Thailand’s parliament has approved a bill to borrow 2 trillion baht, or $64 billion, to finance seven-year infrastructure projects aimed at sustaining economic growth and boosting investment at a time of weak exports.
The government has said the funding for the projects, including high-speed railways and mass-transit systems — proposed by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and approved late on Friday — will be completed by 2020, with repayments spread over 50 years.
“This is necessary for the country’s development,” Finance Minister Kittirat Na Ranong said in a weekly radio address on Saturday. The borrowing bill will still need to go to the Senate for final approval.
The funding will not come from the central government budget but will be mainly from the domestic market, where excess liquidity is high, at more than 3 trillion baht ($96.5bn), Kittirat said, adding that some of the borrowing would be from overseas.
The Finance Ministry said this month the government planned to issue dollar bonds worth $1bn to $1.5bn in 2014, to help finance the infrastructure programme and a water management scheme.
The government also has plans for a flood management project worth 350bn baht ($11bn) this year