Flood budget lacks details, ACT says

14 Mar

Graftbuster unsure how B350bn will be spent

Details are unclear on how the government’s 350-billion-baht water management scheme will be spent, the Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand says.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra promised this meeting of the Thailand Water Management exhibition that the government was implementing a national water management and flood control scheme. (File photo)

ACT chairman Pramon Sutheewong said the megaproject lacks clarity. He is not sure how the money will be spent or on what projects.

He said the ACT will work with a private sector committee to ask the agencies involved to explain how they will proceed with projects and how the projects will benefit the economy.

The private sector committee comprises the Federation of Thai Industries, the Board of Trade of Thailand and the Thai Bankers’ Association.

Mr Pramon spoke after meeting Transport Minister Chadchat Sittipunt Thursday to discuss “integrity pacts”.

Mr Chadchat said the ministry will sign the so-called integrity pacts with contractors undertaking public transport infrastructure projects and with the ACT within 30 days.

The ministry will be the first to sign such pacts, hoping other ministries will follow suit, he said.

The integrity pacts will allow for independent scrutiny at all stages of a project, he said.

Mr Chadchat pledged that transport projects would be scrutinised from start to finish, from writing the terms of reference right through to the designing, contract bidding and construction stages.

The first such pact will be signed for a project to procure 3,138 gas-fuelled passenger buses and will later cover transport projects under the government’s 2.2-trillion-baht infrastructure development scheme, he said.

Mr Chadchat said the ministry had been criticised for a lack of transparency in the spending of budgets in several projects, and he hopes the pacts will help restore public confidence.

Information at every stage of a transport infrastructure project will be revealed to the public to enure transparency, he said.

Even though the pacts are not legally binding and do not impose any penalties, they will support efforts to tackle corruption, he said. The pacts could be used as conditions in the bidding process for state contracts.

Mr Chadchat said the Finance Ministry is examining the details of the pacts to see if they are in line with the law.

Mr Pramon said the ACT has worked with the Finance Ministry to flesh out details of the pacts so they can become a regulatory feature applied at all state agencies, but the plan must be put before the cabinet for approval first.

Chula Sukmanop, director of the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning, said the Finance Ministry bill to borrow 2.2 trillion baht for infrastructure development projects should reach parliament by the end of this month. A parliamentary committee will be set up to vet the bill in May. The bill should be passed into law by June, Mr Chula said.

 

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