New corridors poised to draw B313bn by 2032

New corridors poised to draw B313bn by 2032

Danucha Pichayanan, secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Council (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)

New regional economic corridors are estimated to draw a combined 313 billion baht worth of state and private investment between 2022 and 2032, according to a recent study.

Danucha Pichayanan, secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC), said the study jointly conducted by the NESDC, Prince of Songkla University and Infinity Plans Management Co found the four new economic corridors should become instrumental in drawing investment over the next decade, boosting economic growth by an average of 5.8% a year.

The study projects combined investment from the government and private sector at 313 billion baht between 2022 and 2032.

The Special Economic Zone Policy Committee chaired by the prime minister on May 5 approved four new special economic corridors covering 16 provinces, meant to resemble the flagship Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), in a move to spur the economy and decentralise income to the regions.

The new zones comprise the Northern Economic Corridor (NEC), the Northeastern Economic Corridor (NEEC), the Central-Western Economic Corridor (CWEC) and the Southern Economic Corridor.

The NEC covers Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Lamphun and Lampang. This corridor focuses on developing infrastructure to support a creative economy, a telecommunications network to promote the North as a digital hub, as well as wellness, smart city projects and organic foods.

The NEEC spans Khon Kaen, Udon Thani, Nakhon Ratchasima and Nong Khai. This corridor is expected to be a production base for the bioeconomy and its supply chain because of the area’s abundant raw materials, such as rice, tapioca and sugar cane.

The government aims to promote bio-plastics, medical foods and organic foods in this region, but water supply is needed to speed up development, he said.

The CWEC covers Ayutthaya, Nakhon Pathom, Suphan Buri and Kanchanaburi. The corridor is to be developed as a production base for organic foods, smart farming and a logistics network to link Bangkok, the EEC and Myanmar.

The southern corridor comprises parts of Chumphon, Ranong, Surat Thani and Nakhon Si Thammarat provinces. This corridor aims to promote five areas of connectivity — land, marine, energy, digital and people — under the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation.

The corridor is also designated for infrastructure development to support R&D and technology transfer in the farm sector, such as agribusiness, biochemicals and the bioeconomy, as well as wellness tourism.

This corridor is projected to link the Andaman Sea, the Gulf of Thailand and countries such as India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Mr Danucha said the master development plans for the four new corridors are scheduled to be completed this month. The government is also speeding up finalising incentives for interested investors, he said.

“The government has high hopes the new corridors will play a key role in driving regional development and generating income for people in the provinces,” said Mr Danucha.