Firms fret about policy continuity
The private sector has called for the next government to carry on with development projects as stated in the 20-year national strategy plan (2018-38).
At Wednesday's special meeting of the Joint Public-Private Consultative Committee chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), the Thai Chamber of Commerce and the Thai Bankers' Association raised concerns that the long-term national strategy plan would be ignored by a new government.
The National Legislative Assembly approved the National Strategy Act in July 2018 to make it legally binding for future governments.
The 20-year national strategy aims to raise GDP growth in the agricultural sector to 3.8% in 2022 and 3% a year thereafter until 2037. In 2018, the farm sector's GDP grew by 5%.
The country's national strategy comes with 23 master plans to be put into action.
Under the 23 master plans, there are 15 urgent flagship projects that must be implemented during 2019-23.
The 15 projects are split into several groups: social and economic restructuring in an effort to increase Thai competitiveness; upgrading Thais' skills; projects that can create balance between social and economic growth; infrastructure projects that can drive economic growth in the long term; and projects that can generate income to create sustainable growth.
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak appeased the private sector on Wednesday, saying the issue was nothing to worry about because the law has already been enacted to ensure that planned development projects will be taken up by future governments.
According to the latest report by the National Economic and Social Development Council, there are 17 infrastructure projects worth 739 billion baht under construction.
FTI chairman Supant Mongkolsuthree said the private sector also proposed that the government set up tax perks for private companies which plan to establish innovation funds aimed at supporting innovation among small and medium-sized enterprises.
The private sector has yet to ask for any aid measures to offset the negative impact from the deepening US-China trade war.