The relationships between foreign loans and development project management in the experience of the Loans Control Division of the Department of Highways in Thailand : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Development Studies at Massey University, Palmerston North Campus, New Zealand
This study is concerned with the relationships between foreign loans and development project management. The main focus of the study is to investigate factors that undermine the effectiveness and efficiency of the management of loan projects in the experience of the Loans Control Division of the Department of Highways in Thailand. The emphasis is on road projects funded through foreign loan schemes because roads are one main infrastructure that requires never-ending financial support, with little or no direct cost recovery. When partly financed with loan monies, road projects also add to the burden of debt repayment for the nation. Thus, one essential objective in implementing road projects is to minimize investments cost by delivering a well-managed project. As loan projects have unique characteristics and require particular management skills, a comprehensive study of the experience of the Loan Control Division will help to reveal solutions to improve the effective and efficient management of other loan projects. The findings suggest that the Loans Control Division is presently facing three main factors that create a hostile environment for the management of loan projects. They are: the differences between local regulations and foreign guidelines; an unsupported working environment and the lack of knowledge and skills. These factors reflect a lack of understanding of loan projects at both national and personal levels. At the national level, it is evident in this study that the merger in the 1990s of local regulations for local projects with those for local projects was based on an ignorance of the requirement to have specific regulations that are compatible with foreign loan guidelines and which support the management of loan projects. At the personal level, the study suggests that the majority of the respondents need specific knowledge and particular skills to help them carry out their work efficiently. Proper orientation and training is inadequate and the knowledge and experience of individuals has not yet been transferred to the organization. It is therefore recommended that to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the management of loan projects, it is essential to take the unique characteristics of each loan project into account and to provide necessary resources, such as an in-house orientation and training programmes, a good working and learning environment, and a handbook or manual for work procedures.