Economic cabinet, joint panel readied
The government looks set to bank on two mechanisms to ensure better and more effective economic management: an economic cabinet and the joint public-private consultative committee (JPPCC).
The economic cabinet will be instrumental in driving policy management and improving efficiency amid a sluggish global economy, said Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak. He has already consulted with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
The economic cabinet will include the finance, industry, transport, energy and commerce ministers among others.
The economic ministers' meeting to be chaired by Gen Prayut does not need to meet every week, Mr Somkid said. Meetings should only be held when there is a special agenda, he said.
The weekly cabinet meeting should proceed quickly because the economic agenda has already been screened by the economic ministers' meeting.
Mr Somkid said the government will also revive the JPPCC meeting as a mechanism to promote cooperation between the government and private sector, including the Federation of Thai Industries, the Thai Chamber of Commerce and the Thai Bankers' Association.
The JPPCC should meet 2-3 times a year, he said.
Launched in 1991, the state planning unit, the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC), functioned as the JPPCC's secretariat. Previous governments are considered to have underutilised the unit.
"The world economy is sluggish and just the role of the government sector may not be enough to drive the economy," Mr Somkid said. "The private sector will then play an important and equal role in helping the government overcome obstacles."
Supant Mongkolsuthree, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), met Mr Somkid yesterday and asked the government to revive the JPPCC.
The FTI also asked the government to support the establishment of innovation funds with a corporate income tax exemption of at least three times for companies that invest in the fund.
The innovation fund with an initial budget of 1 billion baht will be allocated to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in industry transformation.
Mr Somkid agreed to the proposals and pledged to assign the Finance Ministry to study them soon, saying the industry transformation would strengthen SME competitiveness.
He said the government also called on the private sector to support policies to promote value-added farm products and upgrade agribusiness to raise income in the farm sector.
Mr Supant said the private sector supports the government's plan to set up an economic cabinet to bolster management and efficiency because the economic ministers are from various political parties.
Also yesterday, Mr Somkid assured Atsushi Taketani, president of the Japan External Trade Organisation in Bangkok, that key significant policies such as infrastructure development projects and the Eastern Economic Corridor will stay on track.
Mr Taketani said Jetro is set to cooperate with the Thai government in human resource development and Japanese investment here.
The new government's plan to tweak personal and corporate income tax structures could result in some taxpayers paying more while others pay less, said Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana.
The personal and corporate income tax structures have a wide disparity, he said, adding that the top bracket of personal income tax, for example, has a 35% rate, while the top corporate tax rate is 20%.