Somkid: Ministry officials need to step up

Somkid: Ministry officials need to step up

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak is calling for Industry Ministry officials to develop themselves to deal with the government's 4.0 initiative.

Mr Somkid visited the ministry on Monday. He told the officials their duties comprise not only regulating the industrial sector, but also supporting private companies, particularly startups and small and medium-sized enterprises.

"The ministry should revamp all working procedures to become one of Thailand's economic engines and keep up with rapid development," said Mr Somkid.

"Some laws and regulations that are barriers to business should be revised or overhauled to facilitate local companies, and it should coordinate with other state agencies."

Part of the government's Thailand 4.0 initiative will be done through InnoSpace Thailand, a public-private venture meant to support new startups in the country.

The ministry will encourage local and foreign companies soon to co-invest in a 500-million-baht joint venture firm to establish the country's innovation space project and recruit top executives.

The ministry recently received funds from five companies -- PTT, Siam Cement Group, Charoen Pokphand Group, Thai Beverage and Bangkok Bank -- for this joint venture.

InnoSpace Thailand is located in the Eastern Economic Corridor of Innovation in Wang Chan district, Rayong province.

The project is adjacent to Kamnoetvidya Science Academy School and Vidyasirimedhi Institute of Science and Technology, both educational institutes owned by PTT.

"InnoSpace Thailand should not develop without any direction, otherwise the project will be a waste of money," said Mr Somkid.

"The ministry's officials should be very enthusiastic because some tasks require coordination with other agencies."

He said many agreements signed with other governments, overseas companies and educational institutions should be implemented from this year, though the ministry's officials have yet to follow up after signing.

Mr Somkid said a contraction in the country's agricultural sector for several years was the result of a lack of improvement in adding higher value to farm products.

Local farmers sell only commodity-grade products.

"The ministry should offer measures to push this sector forward by expanding product variety," he said.

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