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Thailand: BMA to Issue City Bonds
Source: bangkokpost.com
Source Date: Friday, May 28, 2010
Country: Thailand
Created: May 31, 2010

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is working on a plan to issue 20 billion baht worth of municipal bonds to raise funds to rehabilitate the local economy after violent protests. Bangkok Governor M.R. Sukhumbhand Paribatra said a tourism revival package could be launched in the next two to three months when the capital can ensure the safety and security of foreign tourists. Addressing a luncheon hosted by the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce in Thailand (JFCCT) yesterday, M.R. Sukhumbhand said city bonds were an alternative way to raise funds for the BMA.

One project is to accelerate its investments in infrastructure projects such as extended routes of the Skytrain. The BMA has a 41-billion-baht annual budget and receives 13 billion baht from the central government. The administration plans to add another 8 billion baht to its interim budget, bringing its targeted spending to 62 billion for this fiscal year. The BMA also plans to create a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) under a public-private partnership to facilitate private investment in government projects by granting tax privileges.

Acknowledging the importance of the tourism industry, M.R. Sukhumbhand said the capital welcomes about 12 million foreign tourists a year and they generate revenue of 300 billion baht. The governor added he is going to establish 'Team Bangkok' by inviting foreign expatriates living in the city to work with the BMA and the private sector on which projects they would like to see funded. Foreign executives welcomed the Team Bangkok initiative, saying investors would like to know about the rehabilitation process and what actions are taken by government.

Nandor von der Luehe, the JFCCT chairman, said the government needed to communicate with foreign communities to explain clearly what happened. To do this, a strong information campaign should be launched. Andrew Durieux, president of the Australian-Thai Chamber of Commerce, said Thailand had dropped on the list of preferred foreign investment locations. Four trade missions from Australia involving up to 40 companies have cancelled or postponed their trips to Thailand recently and moved to other targeted countries, such as Indonesia, Vietnam, and China.

Kiat Sittheeamorn, president of the Thai Trade Representative (TTR), said the government planned to hold a discussion session tomorrow with foreign ambassadors and foreign media in a bid to restore confidence among the international community. Mr Kiat said the TTR had prepared official visits for Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to the United States, Japan and China to rebuild foreign confidence. The premier and representatives from the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Export Promotion Department will begin the visits in June.

The TTR will also participate in the World Economic Forum on East Asia, from June 5-7 in Vietnam. The forum will draw political leaders and 1,000 global businesses. He said the Board of Investment will also attend to promote Thai investment privileges, especially for regional operating headquarters and high-technology business.
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