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Thailand delays launch of 100b bhat infrastructure fund to Q3

[BANGKOK] Thailand has delayed the launch of a 100-billion baht (S$4.06 billion) infrastructure fund to September this year, the latest in a series of delays in the fund's launch, a government official said on Monday.

The "Thailand Future Fund" was first announced in 2015 as the junta sought to finance investment projects to lift economic growth. The fund's launch has since faced repeated delays.

The most recent delay is because the transport ministry and a relevant agency are concerned over the high cost of launching the fund, Chanvit Nakburee, deputy director-general of the State Enterprise Policy Office, told reporters.

Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong previously said the fund would initially sell units worth 40 billion baht to 50 billion baht to Thai and foreign investors, with a return likely at 7-8 per cent.

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Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak told reporters he had asked the finance ministry to look into the problem.

However, the finance ministry is ready to launch the fund and is waiting for what the transport ministry will say, Mr Chanvit said, adding the fund was needed for the country's development.

Growth in Southeast Asia's second-largest economy has lagged its peers since the military seized power in May 2014 to end months of political unrest.