The Economist: Thai off-budget spending bill equivalent to combined annual economic output of Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos & Cambodia

Infrastructure spending in Thailand – Fast train coming – The Economist, October 12, 2013
[Thanks to Tom for pointing this out.]
…In the past 20 years, train passenger numbers have collapsed from 88m per year to 46m. The government, it would seem, is no longer willing to tolerate the slide. The big idea is to spend 2 trillion baht ($64 billion) by 2020 towards upgrading the country’s creaking infrastructure. Another 3 trillion baht will come due as interest on the loans, accumulating over the next 50 years.
…A fortnight ago parliament passed a bill that permits the government to take on off-budget debt equivalent to the combined annual economic output of Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia.
…The case against the infrastructure plan, which everyone agrees is needed in principle, starts not with debt but with corruption. Thailand’s government agencies are notorious for their procurement contracts’ lack of transparency…

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