In 1992, Thailand introduced the Act on Private Participation in State Undertakings ("Act") with the aim of regulating the process for joint investment projects between the state and the private sector and creating greater transparency. Over time, it became apparent that certain issues such as the lengthy approvals process under the Act, a lack of clarity in the roles and responsibilities of state officials and issues regarding the consideration as to whether a particular project would fall under the definitions of the Act led to difficulties in the interpretation and enforcement of its provisions.
These uncertainties have led to the recent enactment of the Act on Participation by Private Parties in Investment in State Businesses 2013 ("New Act"), which came into force on 4 April 2013. The New Act seeks to address many of the issues previously unclear in the Act and lays down more substantive policies that are not only consistent with state policies and fiscal principles but also create a much sought-after transparency in the process. Specifically, the New Act contains provisions concerning the role and participation of state officials in the approvals process, empowering them to monitor the relevant standards and promote joint state and private sector investments. Other significant changes include clearer definitions of key phrases, clarification in respect of the policy framework, as well as new provisions on: the Policy Committee, procedures on the strategic plan for private participation in state business and amendments to contract provisions.