Thailand delays launch of $3 bln infrastructure fund again

BANGKOK, Aug 23 (Reuters) - The launch of Thailand’s 100 billion-baht ($3 billion) infrastructure fund is likely to be delayed to after September, a senior finance ministry official said on Wednesday.

The government will try to get the “Thailand Future Fund” started by the end of the year, Somchai Sujjapongse, the ministry’s permanent secretary, told reporters.

The fund was first announced in 2015 as the junta sought to finance investment projects to boost economic growth, but its rollout has been repeatedly delayed.

The most recent delay was because the Expressway Authority of Thailand (EXAT) was concerned about some issues that needed approval, Somchai said.

“The problems that the EAT is worried about are minor. The fund’s committee will approve them so the fund can go ahead,” he said, adding the committee meets on Friday.

Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong had said earlier the fund would initially sell units worth 40 billion baht to 50 billion baht to Thai and foreign investors, with a projected 7-8 percent return.

The government has said the fund is needed for Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy, whose growth has lagged its peers since the army seized power in May 2014 to political unrest.

The finance ministry predicts the economy will grow 3.6 percent this year after 3.2 percent growth last year. ($1 = 33.37 baht) (Reporting by Kitiphong Thaichareon; Writing by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)