InfoQuest (September 06, 2019) --Thailand’s Prime Minister and Defense Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha attended the opening ceremony of the academic forum titled "ASEAN Micro SMEs in the Digital Era: Challenges and Opportunities" and delivered a special speech. The forum brought together experts from government agencies, private sectors as well as non-government organizations of ASEAN countries and trading partners. These experts will take advantage of this platform to exchange views on and expound the challenges and opportunities faced by countries in promoting the development of SMEs and micro-SMEs. Thailand has announced that supporting micro-SMEs has been part of the national agenda, a policy that in line with the economic task that Thailand, as ASEAN Chairman, urges ASEAN members to accomplish by this year.
Promoting the development of SMEs is one of the priorities for ASEAN in the fourth industrial revolution. ASEAN governments must encourage enterprises to make full use of digital technologies to run the businesses, strengthen cooperation between the public and private sectors to make enterprises stronger, offer advice on all aspects for enterprises, provide support for enterprises to obtain information and explore markets, encourage formal registration of enterprises, and reduce the number of informal enterprises. Currently, there are about 10.04 million registered enterprises in ASEAN Region, creating more than 72 million jobs.
The Thai prime minister said the government will help companies with source of financing via innovative tools such as online banking service and digital wallets. Meanwhile, everyone must learn new skills and applied them in practices, and the government should encourage people to pick up the skills to use digital technology and adopt it in business operation. In addition, the government should also support people to learn and develop other skills.
Micro-SMEs is an important impetus to promote economic and social development. If the government can push these micro-SMEs to enhance their capability, it will help improve the living standards of Thai people and reduce inequality. Meanwhile, the unity and cooperation between private sectors in ASEAN states will push for steady and mutual development in this region.
The prime minister said that now every ASEAN member has encountered some problems, contradictions and obstacles in developing micro-SMEs. But the most important task now is how to make enterprises realize that they should use digital technology to in operation as soon as possible, for digital technology will help reduce time and cost. Although the government is ready to spare no effort to encourage enterprises to use digital technology, it will have an impact on the national economy if the enterprises themselves are not proactive and lag behind others. Therefore, it is necessary to promote digital technology as much as possible to make enterprises realize the importance of the adoption of digital technology, and at the same time to minimize conflicts between the public and the government. If the government and the people cannot reach a consensus, no problem can be solved. And issues existing in the agricultural and commercial sectors must be resolved in accordance with laws.
"I hope that at the forum the laws and policies of every country/region can be reviewed so as to make adjustments that are beneficial to all ASEAN members," Mr. Prayut said.
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