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Thai Agency Approaches Independent Advice For Procurement Help

Thailand’s State Enterprise Policy Office (SEPO), which oversees state-owned enterprises’ financial and accounting policies, reportedly is soliciting the help of an independent governance initiative to help in setting rules and regulations for governing enterprise procurement.

The Nation reports the move to begin talks with Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST) came after the launch of a strategic development plan for 56 state enterprises. Those initiatives include projects requiring large investment, including transport-related initiatives costing 2.4 trillion baut (US$75.1 billion) over eight years. Besides ensuring projects result in safe, lasting construction, CoST also ensures governments don’t overspend in their contracting.

CoST’s purpose is promote transparency and accountability in publicly financed construction. “Creating a more transparent sector ultimately leads to better public infrastructure, offering potentially huge human benefits, for individuals and communities across the world,” the organization notes on its web page. “It also reduces waste in public budgets, enables fairer competition in the private sector and increased opportunities for investors.”

SEPO is in talks with CoST on “how to set a standard for state enterprises’ procurement procedures,” Kulit Sombatsiri, the government agency’s director-general, said in The Nation article. If SEPO agrees to CoST’s program, the government agency would implement the procurement standard as soon as in the fiscal 2015 budget.

Launched as a global program in South Africa and the UK in October 2012 with the support of a World Bank Development Grant, CoST involves government procuring entities and oversight agencies, private sector consultants and contractors, and civil society groups that work together to improve transparency.

“The ultimate result is a new governance and accountability mechanism that builds on existing government institutions, regulations, and demand for increased transparency and better construction results,” the organization notes on its website.

Recently, The Nation reported, four out of the seven selected enterprises with the deepest financial trouble were picked to propose their business plans to Thailand’s State Enterprise Policy Commission or “Superboard.”

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