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Thailand loans 8.5b baht to build road links in Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar

Thailand plans to provide 8.5 billion baht (over US$281.6 million) in loans next year to Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar for the construction of four transnational roads under the Asean Connectivity initiative, Thailand’s Bangkok Post reported.
The cabinet will be asked to approve the infrastructure development. Observers say the fast-growing economies of Myanmar and Cambodia are not burdened with huge debts and would suit such an initiative.
The interest rate on the loan for each road is fixed at only 0.1 percent, chief of the Neighbouring Countries Economic Development Cooperation Agency, Perames Vudthitornetiraks, was quoted as saying.
He added that Bangkok is keen for the roads to be built to strengthen the Greater Mekong Subregion.
In Laos, the Thai government plans to finance the construction of a fifth Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge, linking Laos’ Borikhamxay province with Bueng Kan in northeastern Thailand.
About 1.3 billion baht will be spent to build a section of the bridge on the Lao side.
Another proposed project in Laos is a 2-billion baht 147-km road linking Thakhaek - the capital of central Khammuan province which borders Thailand’s Nakhon Phanom province - to the Vietnamese border, a senior Lao government official said.  
The road will form a transnational route linking Nakhon Phanom through Thakhaek and then on to the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi.
In Myanmar, a 138-kilometre road, worth 4 billion baht, will be built to link the Dawei special economic zone with tambon Namphu Ron in Kanchanaburi province.
The Myanmar government is keen to build this road, Mr Perames told the Bangkok Post.
Myanmar hopes to use this road as a link between Thailand and countries around Bengal under the Bay of Bengal Initiative Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, or BIMSTEC, via its Dawei deep sea port.
Bangkok also sees Kanchanaburi as an important gateway to Myanmar. It is currently building a new 96-km motorway connecting Nonthaburi’s Bang Yai district to its western province.
Another of the loans, worth 1.2 billion baht, will be for Cambodia to build a 131-km road from Thailand to Cambodia. The route will pass through key areas in Cambodia, including Anlong Veng district and Siem Reap province.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update December 26, 2019)

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