HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Myanmar gives green light to economic road link

Baht appreciation will not push exports off target, says MOC

Many countries keen to invest in Islamic Bank of Thailand

Chamber of commerce sets up entrepreneurship development center

Myanmar gives green light to economic road link

A Thai private sector company has begun construction on a 2.8 billion baht road linking the southern province of Prachuap Khiri Khan in Thailand with Tenasserim and Myeik in Myanmar, following authorization from Myanmar’s Mon State.

Phisan Nakho, coordinator for Vantage Co. Ltd., which has won a concession from Myanmar’s State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) for the construction of the 195 kilometer road, announced that Myanmar had given authorization for Summit Grade Co. (otherwise known as Sam Prasit Co.) to bring personnel, machinery and equipment into Myanmar in order to build the cross-border route passing through Baan Moo Dong, opposite Thailand’s Singkhorn checkpoint.

The governor of Myeik Province laid down plans for the development of Moo Dong, allowing the Thai company to invest in the construction of all public facilities, including schools, a police station and a hospital. Phisan said that in the future the company would also invest in the construction of a five-star hotel and a casino.

Noting that the company had already won a 20-year concession to build a road linking the Gulf of Thailand with the Andaman Sea, Phisan said that it had also set aside a budget of 160 billion baht to invest in the construction of a 4,000 megawatt gas and coal fired electricity generating plant 130 kilometers from the Thai border in the town of Tabolek.

The generating plant would use Finnish technology and machinery, and cables would link it with the electricity system in Thailand, and operate to strict environmental standards. This plant would replace proposals to construct power stations at Hin Krut, Bo Nok and Thap Sakae in Thailand, all of which have been derailed due to intense local opposition. (TNA)

Baht appreciation will not push exports off target, says MOC

Commerce Minister Adisai Bodharamik has expressed confidence that the appreciation of the baht will not prevent this year’s export figures from hitting the government’s target of USD76 billion, saying that even if the baht strengthened to 40 baht to the US dollar the export target would be unaffected.

Adisai said that the government was not overly concerned about the continual appreciation of the baht, which has seen it hit 41 baht to the dollar, saying that the government was keen to see a short and medium term strengthening of the Thai currency in order to boost confidence in the Thai economy as a whole.

While conceding that in the long term the government wanted to see greater currency stability, he said that minor fluctuations at the present time would not pose any significant problems.

“The current appreciation of the baht should not generate any major problems overall, but will rather serve to stabilize the economy over the next 3-4 months. The government wants to see the baht stabilize, even if it will lead to a slight drop in exports. But looking at the overall picture, I am confident that the Thai economy will grow by no less than 5.5 percent this year,” Adisai said.

Adisai also dismissed suggestions that the Ministry of Commerce’s announcement of both unofficial and official monthly export figures would confuse exporters or analysts, saying that the announcement of unofficial figures was designed to display overall export trends to the general public and to give the public the latest information in line with rapid national development.

Although he admitted discrepancies between the figures released by the Bank of Thailand (BOT) and those issued by the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB), he said that these differences were minimal and did not pose a problem. (TNA)

Many countries keen to invest in Islamic Bank of Thailand

Many countries have expressed their interest in jointly investing in the Islamic Bank of Thailand, which was inaugurated on 18 August, according to Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The Thai leader said that the Brunei government, through Brunei Investment Agency, had invested in the bank; while other countries had also expressed their interest in becoming partners with the kingdom’s first Islaamic bank.

Brunei had also extended technical assistance to support the Islamic Bank of Thailand by sending its specialists to share their expertise and experiences, Thaksin noted. “This is a very positive sign for the Islamic Bank of Thailand.”

Thailand’s first Islamic bank was legally established under the Islamic principles, and the government plans to quickly expand its branches to Muslim communities throughout the country. (TNA)

Chamber of commerce sets up entrepreneurship development center

The Thai Chamber of Commerce has established an entrepreneurship development institute in a bid to boost national competitiveness, which it hopes will train 5,000 Thai entrepreneurs in its first year and hopes to be up and running by the end of September.

The chamber’s president, Art Taolanonda, said, “The Thai Institute for the Development of Entrepreneurs, an independent agency under the auspices of the TCC, has been set up in order to promote the development and creation of entrepreneurs in various areas and to boost their business competitiveness. This is in line with the government’s strategy of raising the competitiveness of Thai entrepreneurs in response to growing competition on the global market.”

The institute will target a wide range of businesses across the country, from TCC members to non-members and anyone interested in becoming an entrepreneur. In provincial areas the TCC will liaise with provincial chambers of commerce to provide training.

The institute will emphasize the practical application of knowledge rather than theoretical training and organize specialist courses in business legislation, business opportunities and marketing channels to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), such as marketing and sales strategies and administration. (TNA)