Arkhom calls for tax reforms
Nation must gird for mega-trends, he says
Thailand needs to reform tax structures to boost income and prepare for new challenges in the future, Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith told the Forbes Forum 2020.
Speaking as a keynote speaker at "Forbes Thailand: Thailand's Mega Trends Forum 2020", which explored the mega-trends and their impact, Mr Arkhom said there are five current global trends -- technological changes, a shift in global economic power, social and demographic changes, climate change and a green economy, and the shift toward urbanisation.
He said the government has clear policies to accommodate these "mega-trends" and the Finance Ministry has fiscal, monetary and capital market tools for this purpose.
"We have to tell the truth about the need for state revenue. Therefore, tax structure reforms are needed to boost high-technology and digital competitiveness, create green businesses and support health care and wellness of people in the country," Mr Arkhom said.
Don: Needs to adapt
He said technologies have played a crucial role in society particularly during the lockdown at the height of the Covid-19 outbreak.
"One of the global mega-trends is technology. Covid-19 has increased the impact of technology on people and businesses. During the lockdown, we could not order food deliveries if we did not have a smartphone. Even the government projects to support Thai people during Covid-19 relied on smart devices and e-payments," he said.
"These trends help accelerate digital literacy among Thai people at a fast pace and many businesses are still moving forwards to digital. Many technology companies, such as Huawei, are educating people on how to use technology.
"We are moving forward in this direction, although there is still a lot more room left to increase digital literacy for Thai people," the minister said at the forum held by Forbes Thailand, a magazine published by Bangkok Post Group.
From left: Chang Foo, Chief Operating Officer of Tencent (Thailand) Co Ltd; Dr Prasit Watanapa, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital of Mahidol University; Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith; Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Don Pramudwinai; Worachai Bhicharnchitr, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors, Bangkok Post Plc; and Poomchit Balankura, general manager of Post International Media, at the ‘Forbes Thailand: Thailand’s Mega Trends Forum 2020’ at the Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai said the government recognised the need to adapt to technological disruption. The Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) is one of its endeavours to respond to the new normal.
"The EEC is the special economic zone that was designed to be a catalyst for Thailand's 21st century. It leverages Thailand's geography and our comparative advantages in healthcare, agriculture, logistics, and infrastructure," he said.
He also affirmed Thailand's commitment to obtaining an effective vaccine to address challenges exacerbated by the coronavirus.
Mr Don said the government is speeding up responses to the outbreak that has accelerated changes.
The most effective answer to Covid-19, he said, is availability of an affordable vaccine. The government has ordered vaccines for Thais which it hopes to provide free of charge. It has set a target where it hopes half the population will be vaccinated by mid-2021.
"It has reached out near and far to maximise the chance that the Thai people will not stand at the end of line to get vaccinated.
"The government has supported the partnership between our indigenous organisations and overseas research and pharmaceutical bodies," he said.
Thailand recently signed a deal with AstraZeneca to secure its Covid-19 vaccine and for local production of the doses by Siam Bioscience.
Suthikiati Chirathivat, chairman and publisher of the Bangkok Post Plc, talks to Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Don Pramudwinai.
From left: The moderator; Jareeporn Jarukornsakul, Chairman and Group Chief Executive Officer of WHA Corporation Plc Ltd; Chutinant Bhirombhakdi, President and Chief Executive Officer of Boon Rawd Brewery Co Ltd and Singha Corporation Co Ltd; and Sura Khanittaweekul, Chief Executive Officer of Com7 Plc.
From left: Dr Harald Link, Chairman of B.Grimm; Dr Prasit, Mr Arkhom, Mr Don, Mr Worachai and Ms Poomchit.
From left: Ms Poomchit, Dr Prasit, Mr Arkhom, Mr Don, Mr Worachai and Abel Deng, Chief Executive Officer of Huawei Technologies (Thailand).
From lef: Ms Poomchit, Dr Prasit, Mr Arkhom, Mr Don, Mr Worachai, Ms Jareeporn and Mr Sura.
From left: Ms Poomchit, Dr Prasit, Mr Arkhom, Mr Don, Mr Worachai and Sukanya Isaranuwatchai, SVP, Brand & Communications of Krungthai-AXA Life Insurance Plc.