PM advises rehabilitation focus for 20-year strategy

PM advises rehabilitation focus for 20-year strategy

Thailand's economic and social development plan over the next two years should focus primarily on community-level economic development, enhancing competitiveness, upgrading human resources and infrastructure development, says the premier.

Speaking at the annual meeting of the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC), Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Monday the country's 20-year national strategy plan needs to be amended to focus more on rehabilitating society and economy, which have been wrecked by the pandemic.

"Over 2021-22, the NESDC needs to focus on screening projects that address those four issues. The government already set aside 400 billion baht to sponsor those efforts, in part to rehabilitate the country's virus-hit economy," he said.

Gen Prayut said the government will not secure any additional loans as the fiscal 2021 budget is about to be implemented.

Last Wednesday, an ad-hoc committee reviewing the draft of the 2021 budget appropriation bills chaired by Deputy Finance Minister Santi Promphat reviewed the budgets of 721 government agencies in line with the national economic and social development plan, the government's national reform plan, national security, the government's policy, economic conditions as well as the pandemic crisis.

The committee proposed the government continue to integrate the budgets of all government agencies to help prevent duplicate transactions and increase efficiency.

The committee also proposed an increase in the budgets for water resource management, education, research and innovation, and public health.

The committee cut the fiscal 2021 budget down from 3.3 trillion baht to 3.28 trillion. While 31 billion baht was cut from other areas, the budget for the Public Health and Interior ministries, the Equitable Education Fund and the Court of Justice was increased by 17.9 billion baht.

According to Thosaporn Sirisamphand, secretary-general of the NESDC, the agency is scheduled to approve 92 billion baht of the state's 400-billion spending plan for social and economic rehabilitation within this month. It plans to allocate an additional 100 billion baht under the same plan in the fourth quarter this year and 200 billion in the first and second quarters of next year.

The government also pledges to implement more measures to prevent rising unemployment and to ease the pandemic's impact on low-income earners.

Mr Thosaporn said the country's unemployment rate is projected to stand at 2% of the total workforce this year, about 750,000. He said higher poverty is projected this year.

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