PM seeks to lure more foreign investment

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra wants to spur Thailand's economic growth economy by drawing more foreign investment into the country.

ALL SMILES: Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra greets de facto Chart Pattana Party leader Suwat Liptapanlop, right, as Pheu Thai secretary-general Phumthan Vejjayachai, left, looks on. Mr Suwat welcomed guests who came to wish him a happy 58th birthday at his home yesterday.

She said foreign investment would help the country's economy to grow in a sustainable manner while Thai incomes rise through the implementation of the government's policies.

"What we need is real investment, not capital inflows for financial speculation," Ms Yingluck said during her weekly broadcast yesterday.

By "real investment", she was referring to businesses that hire Thai citizens and use resources to produce goods and provide services.

The premier said the Thai economy was growing steadily, which she attributed in part to the success of the 300 baht minimum daily wage and to foreigners' plans to expand their businesses in Thailand.

She cited Honda Motors of Japan's intention to build another production base in Prachin Buri with a capacity to make 120,000 cars a year.

Speaking during the same programme yesterday, Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong, expressed concerns over capital inflows.

Mr Kittiratt said he had asked the Bank of Thailand (BoT), which oversees the value of the baht, and the Monetary Policy Committee, to consider cutting the existing policy interest rate of 2.75%.

The current interest rate, he said, drives increased capital inflows.

Mr Kittiratt has previously expressed his frustration with the slow response to his letter to the BoT board requesting action against the interest rate.

There has been speculation in some quarters that he may remove BoT governor Prasarn Trairatvorakul from his post.

The minister denied the rumours, however, and said yesterday he did not also want to interfere with the BoT's work.

"I used to express my worries through talks but the problem has not been solved and seems to be escalating," he said.

"Even now, I still have not received an answer."