NEDA seeks to help Lao infrastructure to boost trade, tourism
Thailand’s Neighbouring Countries Economic Development Cooperation Agency (Neda) says it is planning to ask the Cabinet to approve a loan of 1.8 billion baht to Lao PDR to develop Khamsavath Station in Vientiane to boost cross-border trade and tourism.
The money will be used to develop the commercial area of Khamsavath train station as well as build a road linking it to the R12 highway, which starts from Nakhon Phanom province and terminates in Vietnam’s Quảng Bình province, Neda president Peerames Vudthitornetiraks said on Monday.
The project is part of the Thai-Laos railway project linking Nong Khai province to the Lao capital Vientiane, he said, adding that the construction of phase one (Nong Khai – Thanaleng stations) has already been completed and is pending inspection by both countries.
“This railway project is in line with Laos’ National Railway Development Strategy and will boost cross-border trade as well as tourism from Thailand to Laos and southern provinces of China,” he said.
Peerames added that at the latest meeting between Thai and Lao representatives, the neighboring country had asked for assistance in training train operators.
Since the country’s law stipulates that all train operators must be Lao nationals, the Lao Railway Authority is planning to send 5-10 operators to train with the State Railway of Thailand to improve their skills.
Peerames added that the 1.8-billion-baht budget for Khamsavath Station development will bring the total financial assistance from Thailand to Lao PDR to 15.32 billion baht, or nearly 70% of the entire budget proposed by Neda to help neighbouring countries.
The funding has gone to 21 infrastructure projects and 12 academic development projects. The latter amounted to 189 million baht and covered the training of over 200 personnel in logistics, finance, and trading, the Neda president added.