The road linking Kanchanaburi with Dawei, Myanmar is expected to win approval from the neighbouring country’s parliament next month, says the Neighbouring Countries Economic Development Cooperation Agency (Neda)
Neda president Newin Sinsiri yesterday said the Thai government had agreed to support the 138-kilometre road to the tune of 4 billion baht, with the interest rate still under consideration.
The budget earmarked for this project is set to be disbursed three years from the financial approval date.
Once the Myanmar parliament approves the project, the Thai cabinet will need to approve financing before construction can proceed.
Mr Newin said the Thai government initially agreed to lend the money for the project via a 30-year loan with a grace period for interest payment provided to the Myanmar government for the first 10 years.
“Once construction is finished, travel between Kanchanaburi and Dawei will drop to only two and a half hours from four hours now,” he said.
On the Thai side, the government has approved construction of a motorway between Nonthaburi’s Bang Yai district and Kanchanaburi’s Phu Nam Ron border crossing, a length of 96 km.
Mr Newin said the financial support by the Thai government to the Myanmar government was essential, as it would help to improve both countries’ economies.
Thai industrialists will particularly benefit via new opportunities to expand their production capacity, boost exports and develop heavy industries, he said.
The route will be part of the planned Southern Economic Corridor linking four countries, running from Dawei through Bangkok and Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City.
“This will be a strategic route since it will be a major logistics improvement for the region as well as for supply chains,” Mr Newin said. “Goods from Asean members will move around more conveniently…
He predicts Thailand’s industrial sector will go the way of Japan’s 20 years ago, with labour-intensive industries relocating to cheaper-wage nations.
Neda has spent 14.4 billion baht on 60 research projects in neighbouring countries over the past 10 years.