BANGKOK, May 21 (Reuters) - The Thai government has approved a 33.1 billion baht ($1.1 billion) budget for infrastructure in the west of the country that will link up with a planned $50 billion port and industrial zone in Dawei over the border in Myanmar.
“We will take care of infrastructure on the Thai side and improve existing links between the Thai-Myanmar border and towns and cities in Thailand,” acting government spokesman Anusorn Iamsa-ard said on Monday.
“Many Thai companies are ready to invest in Myanmar and our job is to support that investment,” said Anusorn.
The budget was agreed on at a cabinet meeting held outside Bangkok on Sunday.
The Dawei project is led by Thailand’s biggest building contractor, Italian-Thai Development Pcl.
The work to be funded by the Thai government includes a four-lane road linking towns in the west of Thailand to the Thai-Myanmar border, government offices and new homes to accommodate Thais who will work in Myanmar.
The Dawei project, launched before the current reformist government took office in Myanmar just over a year ago, was slated to be Southeast Asia’s largest industrial complex but Italian-Thai is still trying to find $8.5 billion in funding for the first phase.
The company hopes to open the highway to the border, a $1.2 billion deep-sea port and infrastructure including a 400-MW power plant by the end of 2015. ($1 = 31.3400 Thai baht) (Reporting by Amy Sawitta Lefevre; Editing by Alan Raybould)