The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said Thailand should speed up investment in transport and infrastructure development on the Dawei special economic zone project, to show international investors it is committed to the project.
In a presentation in Bangkok, Craig Steffensen, the ADB's Thailand country director, said on Wednesday that in addition to a highway planned between Nonthaburi's Bang Yai District and Kanchanaburi Province, the Thai government should look at running a road or railway across the border to improve access to Dawei.
“It doesn't need to be a massive investment, just an initial amount that can get the Dawei project off the ground,” he said, according to an article in The Bangkok Post on Thursday.
He said the main problem regarding Dawei is that it needs an injection of US$ 8 billion for Phase 1 development and $50 billion for the entire project, though these funds are still unaccounted for.
He said the ADB wants to see the project succeed, as it will benefit Thailand, Burma and Asean as a whole.
While the ADB has been in discussions with Italian-Thai Development Plc, the Dawei project's developer, the Thai contractor has not made an official request for any loans from the bank, he said.
Steffensen spoke to a Thailand Focus 2012 forum.
The ADB has provided technical assistance for the public-private partnership overseeing the Bang Yai-Kanchanaburi route, he said.
The article said the Thai Highway Department has already started work on the planned 45.9-billion baht, 98-kilometre motorway from Bang Yai to Kanchanaburi.
Another 70-km section leading to the Phu Namron border checkpoint is now under a feasibility study, while design work has been completed on the final 160-km route from Phu Namron to Dawei.
The Dawei project is expected to create 5,000 jobs for Burma.
Steffensen said power shortages remain a big problem for Burma, one that has obstructed a surge in private investment in the impoverished country. Education and human resource are other areas requiring attention along with financial and other reforms that are now taking place in Burma.