New panel to bring Thai megaprojects under control

Prime Minister to chair megaprojects watchdog.

Thailand will set up a government panel to watch over megaprojects, chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. The watchdog will monitor the progress of large infrastructure projects and propose legal changes to simplify business processes. The government plans to start construction of 20 megaprojects worth 1.6 trillion baht (US$45.3 billion) this year. 11 have been approved by the government and are due to be completed by 2022. "The government needs to accelerate those projects to increase Thailand's competitiveness," said Prime Minister Chan-o-cha. The government is building three new mass-transit routes in Bangkok and also two high-speed trains between Bangkok other cities. Megaprojects are known more often to fail than succeed, however. Nine of out ten megaprojects go past their budgets and take longer than expected to build, according to Bent Flyvjberg, Professor of Major Programme Management at the Oxford University’s Saïd Business School. The “iron law of megaprojects” is that they are “over budget, over time, over and over again”, he wrote in 2014 paper.