InfoQuest (August 08, 2019) -- Speaking to the heads of state agencies and state-owned enterprises, Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said after the parties under the coalition government and relevant agencies held discussions, the government decided to set up a monetary and fiscal committee to support Thai economy amid the economic volatility. The new committee includes the Bank of Thailand (BOT), the Ministry of Finance, the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other related agencies. It will attempt to ensure the consistency of monetary and fiscal policy in Thailand.
"The president of Japanese Chamber of Commerce, Bangkok also expressed concern about exports, saying it is impossible for Japanese enterprises to keep pouring money into this land given that export situation remains unimproved and they continue to suffer from loss. For this regard, I comforted him the joint committee will closely monitor economic movement. In order to avoid fragmentation, there will no longer exist any completely independent sector, since fiscal and monetary policy must remain consistent, not opposite. The joint committee will be established as soon as possible, and all agencies have also reached consensus on this issue," said the deputy prime minister.
Mr. Somkid also said the short-term economic situation was under pressure from the global economic turmoil. In particular, after the U.S. announced it would impose new tariffs on Chinese products, global stock markets lost ground as a result. Thailand's stock market also fell more than 2 percent yesterday, but it was a relatively strong stock market in the world.
Regarding domestic consumption, Mr. Somkid said, the key is to building the confidence of the Thai people. During the period when the baht remains strong, Thai investors should expand investment in domestic market. In particular, large state-owned enterprises should take this opportunity to invest, for they can benefit from the investment.
The formation of the new government had been delayed for 3-4 months, but it is now fully completed. Although it is a multi-party coalition government, it is believed to work well together because all parties have known each other for a long time. "Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul and Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit and I have known each other for more than 20 years. Every issue has been negotiated out without any conflict or disagreement", said Mr. Somkid.
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid also said that the effort to drive economic development should not focus too much on short-term regulation, but on structural reform. Each agency should attach importance to resuming the policies proposed by the previous administration, especially the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) project. The EEC project will be implemented in three stages. The first stage is to promote the initiative. During the two-year promotion period, efforts should be stepped up to convince investors that this is a mega-project that the government attaches great importance to, and take measures to attract emerging and future industries to settle in the zone and promote investment in digital industries. "I have repeatedly stressed the need to achieve 5G in Thailand next year to Mr. Puttipong Punnakan, minister of the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society", he said.
The second stage is to consider how to attract as many Thai investors as possible. And the final stage is to cement international cooperation, which must be carried out on an equal footing with China, the U.S. and Japan. Of course, apart from economic policy, security policy is also a relatively important aspect for the outsiders.
The agricultural and industrial sectors are also vital, and promoting the development of farmers is a crucial part. In the past, the two sectors were completely independent, and were not planned as a whole. The task to drive the development of farmers was in the charge of the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC). In fact, this issue should be taken charge of by the Ministry of Industry. Therefore, the relevant government structure must be reformed. In addition, emphasis should be placed on boosting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are considered to be the backbone of the Thai economy, establishing emerging industries, and boosting Thailand's competitiveness.
Mr. Somkid said the key to narrowing the gap between the rich and poor is to value education. For example, the national welfare card policy introduced by the government is not just a campaign tool, but a foundation for future development established by the Ministry of Finance. This policy aims to help the elderly, pregnant women and children, but the source of funding should be identified. At present, the Ministry of Finance and the Bureau of Budget have been commissioned to discuss it in details.
Source: InfoQuest, by Tanit Tongnok/Kasamarporn/Rachada, translated by Xinhua Silk Road
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