Bangkok hopes new govt will help resolve BMA’s mountain of debt to BTSC
Bangkok administration hopes the new government will step in to resolve the ever-growing debt it owes over the BTS Green Line extension.
The debt has now grown to nearly 50 billion baht.
Deputy city governor Wisanu Subsompon told The Nation this week that the issue of the money the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) owes to Bangkok Transit System Corporation (BTSC) has not progressed much, as the city council has never discussed it at its meetings.
The BMA hired BTSC to run electric trains and install systems for the Green Line extension from Mo Chit to Khu Kho and from Bearing to Samut Prakan.
In September 2021, BTSC filed a lawsuit against BMA, suing it for 12 billion baht it is owed as train operation fee and another 20 billion baht for installing the train operating system. BMA missed the payment deadline of April 2021. The debts plus interest have now accumulated to 49.8 billion baht.
When current Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt took office in June last year, he announced that BMA will not default on its payments, but legal steps must be taken first. The governor said the contract signed with the BTSC before his term had not been approved by the city council.
He added that the money owed was pending a Cabinet decision on whether it should be added to the concession granted to the BTSC by the now-defunct National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), which will enable BTSC to run the Green Line extension for another 30 years from 2029-2059.
Wisanu said since the city council has not reached a verdict on the legal issues of the contract, the Cabinet cannot issue a resolution about the extension of the BTSC concession.
He added that the council has two options to resolve the legal dispute: Having BMA retroactively endorse the contract signed with BTSC, or seeking a verdict from the Administrative Court.
Now that the current Cabinet’s term is reaching an end, the issue will become the new government’s responsibility, which will need to resolve it as soon as possible to stop the debts from growing further, he added.