Northeast plans NEC to boost economy at mobile Cabinet meeting

Picture courtesy of Highway Department

Private sector representatives in the northeast are set to present a series of economic stimulation projects, including the establishment of the Northeastern Economic Corridor (NEC), during the mobile Cabinet meeting in Nakhon Ratchasima on July 2.

Hatsadin Suwattanapongchet, Secretary of the Northeastern Industrial Federations, announced that the NEC, traversing Nakhon Ratchasima, Khon Kaen, Udon Thani, and Nong Khai, will emulate the strategy of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).

He confirmed that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s Cabinet initially approved the corridor’s plan in 2021, but progress stalled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The mobile Cabinet meeting coincides with Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s official visit to Nakhon Ratchasima province, which commences today.

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A source from the Nakhon Ratchasima Chamber of Commerce revealed that businesses from the lower northeastern provinces of Nakhon Ratchasima, Chaiyaphum, Buriram, and Surin, collectively known as the Nakhon Chai Bu Ri group, intend to propose 14 projects valued at nearly 9 billion baht (US$245 million) to the prime minister. These proposals align with the government’s regional development strategies aimed at economic stimulation.

Four of these projects, which focus on promoting northeastern silk, establishing a heritage route, creating a gastronomy hub, and enhancing the wellness industry, are expected to be completed within a year, the source indicated.

The remaining 10 projects, deemed urgent by the Provincial Joint Public and Private Sector Consultative Committee, include initiatives to reduce carbon emissions, promote green city development, and boost tourism and local cuisine.

Additionally, the committee plans to propose a 120-million-baht (US$3.27 billion) project to support the cattle industry across four provinces to the Cabinet, to invigorate the region’s economy.

Government spokesman Chai Watcharonke announced that PM Srettha will depart for Nakhon Ratchasima this evening.

Separately, the prime minister and his delegation visited Warin Chamrap district in Ubon Ratchathani yesterday to assess the progress of the province’s water management project. This visit is part of his tour of Ubon Ratchathani, Si Sa Ket, and Surin, which started on June 28 and concludes today.

The government has expressed concern over the recurring flooding in the province, according to Chai.

The Royal Irrigation Department and the Land Development Department have been tasked with developing water storage areas, known as monkey’s cheeks, to mitigate flooding during the rainy season, reported Bangkok Post.

Officials plan to propose the creation of 16 additional storage areas with a budget of 410 baht (US$11), alongside dredging canals and rivers to enhance water storage capacity.

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