Industry Ministry eyes 2.2% gain in productivity in two years

Industry Ministry eyes 2.2% gain in productivity in two years

The Industry Ministry has set a target to increase industrial productivity by 2.2% by 2022 and raise Thailand's competitiveness by enhancing labour skills and leveraging technology and innovation.

Kobchai Sungsitthisawad, the industry permanent secretary, said Thailand should increase productivity by using existing resources.

To deal with problems like the global economic slowdown, trade wars, the coronavirus outbreak, an ageing population and technological disruption, the country must reform its manufacturing sector, Mr Kobchai said.

"Thailand's total factor productivity is very low when compared with the country's GDP growth, and measures will be used to drive up Thailand's industrial productivity, such as upgrading skilled labour capabilities," he said.

Thailand has long been stuck in the middle-income trap because the economy has low productivity and little innovation.

According to a report by the Asian Productivity Organization, Thailand's economy in the 45 years from 1970 to 2015 was driven by the consumption of resources and capital, with no emphasis on productivity improvement.

The Industry Ministry plans to continue supporting productivity efforts in order to strengthen the nation's industry for sustainable growth and economic value creation.

Officials will promote the use of advanced technology and innovation in the private sector to help businesses improve productivity and move towards Thailand 4.0 with smart manufacturing.

Phanit Laosirirat, executive director of the Thailand Productivity Institute, said it has expanded operations to cover other sectors apart from industry, such as services, government and processed agriculture, with the aim of increasing productivity in all sectors.

The institute will work with state agencies in different sectors to support small and medium-sized businesses.

"A major factor for the country in its efforts to boost Thailand's productivity and competitiveness and promote sustainable growth is Thailand's core industries, which drive innovation as part of the S-curve scheme," Mr Phanit said.

Thailand aims to become a developed country by 2037 under a 20-year national strategy emphasising productivity gains.

The institute is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2020 and hosting a two-day international forum on transformation productivity that ends today.

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