The private sector's concerns about potentially devastating floods this year have eased but businesses have called on the government not to postpone any flood-prevention projects.
Payungsak Chartsutipol, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), said worries about a recurrence of floods this year in the Central plains had abated after tropical storm Gaemi passed with little impact.
After this week, Thailand will enter the last period of heavy rains of the monsoon season and move into the winter season, he said.
"Earlier we were deeply stressed that the floods would return. But now there are few signs it will happen again," said Mr Payungsak.
Severe flooding devastated Thailand between September and December 2011, causing trillions of baht in damage. Economic activities were suspended for many months, especially in the Central region. Mr Payungsak warned the government not to delay or cancel investments in water-management systems because the monsoons in future may be worse.
"Any delay will repeat same the mistakes that we saw after the big floods in 1995. After that year, there was no progress at all in water management before the flood crisis struck again last year," said Mr Payungsak.
Meanwhile, the FTI has negotiated with insurance firms to reduce premiums which skyrocketed after last year's deluge. This aims at lowering the cost of the private sector to make them more competitive while improving Thailand's image about natural disaster risks in the future, he added.
Meanwhile, the Board of Investment (BoI) yesterday approved 24 projects worth 10.37 billion baht under the flood relief scheme for investors affected by the floods.
Of the total, 17 projects are rehabilitation projects valued at 7.65 billion baht and the rest are new investments or expansion projects.
About the author
- Writer: Yuthana Praiwan
Position: Business Reporter