Govt needs to get serious about foreign investment Investment is key for Thailand to move forward. Water management projects alone will cost at least several hundred billion baht. At the same time even more money is needed in order to complete other infrastructure projects that have been long overdue.
The main problem facing Thailand today is that we do not have sufficient funds to pay for all these projects, as each year we can spare only 20% from the annual budget for new investment.
When it come to the issue of sourcing money, the Pheu Thai Party has always maintained that they would not resort to borrowing money but instead try to find other sources of funding.
While I am not particularly concerned about them swallowing their words by resorting to borrowing money; I am very concerned that they will be making a 180-degree turn from their earlier promise by resorting to only borrowing money instead of trying to find other sources of funding.
At the same time, the world economy is currently experiencing a huge excess in liquidity, while the value of global currencies is declining from various quantitative easing programmes initiated since the 2008 financial crises.
Despite the declining value of their excess money, many nations as well as companies are not willing to invest their reserves due to various concerns and restrictions.
The competition for access to global capital has become more and more intensified. For example, the Asian Development Bank predicts that in the next 5-10 years, Asia alone will need to invest around US$400 billion (12.5 trillion baht) each year for new infrastructure projects. Meanwhile, we should be more concerned about increasing competition from the Western world as they need more and more investment to jump start their economies and sustain economic development.
This is especially true for European countries which are faced with large accumulated deficits that have prevented them from borrowing more money.
These countries are being forced to rely solely on investment from the private sector and overseas sovereign funds.
A great example is the case of the China Investment Corporation , which has more than $400 billion of capital. The CIC has recently af
firmed its intentions to invest in various infrastructure projects in the United Kingdom. Despite this, the UK government is fully aware that relying on foreign investment may not be enough, and that it still needs to seek investment from other local institutions.
The CIC, which is highly connected with Chinese companies and other state enterprises, is sending a clear signal that it wants to play a more active role in the management of its investment projects, instead of only investing money and playing the role of construction contractor in the projects.
With this agenda, the CIC would certainly consider investing in countries that are open to foreign investment and have reliable legal and judicial system with internationally-recognised standards.
With all of the above concerns in mind, we should now be aware of many pending issues that Thailand has to overcome.The key issues are explained as follows.