Thailand is one of the great development success stories. It achieved upper middle income status in less than a generation; however, average growth rates have fallen from 7.5% (1986-1996) to 3.5% (2005-2015). Over the past decade, Thailand has gone through a period of political instability which has resulted in a decline in investment from both the public and private sectors. The country is now trapped in the middle income bracket and has yet to transition to high income country status. In order to achieve this aspiration, the country must maintain an annual growth rate of over 5% for the next 10 years.
The government has subsequently proposed significant investments in infrastructure, including a number of large mega infrastructure projects, valued at 4.5 trillion THB (US$127.4 billion) (33% of Thailand’s 2015 GDP), primarily in transportation, energy, sanitation, telecommunication and education. The bulk of these investments (85%) will be made through State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) who are widely considered to be inefficient or poorly managed. Greater transparency could help address the underlying causes of such inefficiency and mismanagement, and additionally help drive greater private sector investment.According to the World Bank’s Worldwide Governance Index (WGI), governance in Thailand has significantly deteriorated between 1996 and 2014. In particular, the control of corruption has weakened. This is corroborated by Transparency International’s (TI) Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) which ranks Thailand in the bottom half of countries worldwide and below the world average.
CoST Thailand was established in March 2015 when the Cabinet issued a resolution assigning the State Enterprise Policy Office (SEPO) to pilot the programme. It has since grown from application on only one mega project under the Airports of Thailand (AOT) to include projects under the Comptroller General’s Department (CGD) and SEPO. Disclosure has commenced and is ongoing, facilitated by a number of separate online platforms. CoST Thailand expects to continue scaling up the programme over the coming years.
In partnership with the UK Government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), CoST is conducting four country studies in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam to assess the applicability and viability of the initiative in each country. The purpose of this study is to understand the:
Key characteristics of public infrastructure investment and governance in Thailand;
Public infrastructure transparency policy and practice (baseline) in Thailand; and
Scope for improving public infrastructure transparency and accountability, specifically the CoST value-add and potential challenges/barriers to implementation, in Thailand.