Nation requires a 'great overhaul'
Tech, conservation key in post-Covid era
Thailand is in dire need of a great overhaul in the post-Covid-19 period with a focus on narrowing economic disparity and investing in advanced technology and environmental conservation, says the state planning unit's chief.
According to Danucha Pichayanan, secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC), global trends are expected to lead to digital development and technology disruption, climate change, changing ways of life and an ageing society.
"Thailand has long experienced structural problems, notably in the manufacturing sector which is still based on conventional production or conventional technology," he said. "Without any restructuring, Thailand will lag behind neighbouring countries as many of them have already begun restructuring," he said.
According to Mr Danucha, Thailand needs to speed up the creation of opportunities for average people, SMEs, micro-SMEs and community businesses to access technology while coming up with better climate change and environmental management policies as well as providing more support in the bio-economy, circular economy and green economy that can help boost Thailand's competitiveness in the long-run.
He said SMEs, micro-SMEs and community businesses should be strengthened and promoted to help drive Thai economic growth.
"SMEs, micro-SMEs and community businesses, once established, will be instrumental to tackling social and income disparity," he said, adding Thailand is also in dire need of accelerated human resource development while government services should also be improved to keep abreast of the private sector's demands and trends.
In the short term, Mr Danucha said the Thai economy will become resilient as it will be boosted by three key contributors; export, investment and domestic consumption.
The government is planning additional measures to retain jobs and boost domestic consumption to help rehabilitate the economy.
The new measures would be financed by a new 500 billion baht loan published in the Royal Gazette earlier this week. More details of the new measures have not been disclosed.
However, Mr Danucha admitted Thailand is still mired in domestic problems brought about by the pandemic, including a high rate of household debt, widened income disparity, and tight liquidity among small and medium-sized enterprises, micro businesses and community businesses.
Mr Danucha on Monday warned that the country's unemployment is likely to soar this year because of the severe impact being felt by the third wave of Covid-19.
Workers in micro, small and medium-sized enterprises [MSMEs] might experience the most loss or have to accept reduced hours as these businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic since last year.