Analyst urges Thai national blueprint

Analyst urges Thai national blueprint

Master plan to rehabilitate economy

The government is being urged to come up with a national strategic blueprint to deal with the changing economic structure covering technologies, geopolitics, global warming, health and inequality management between the rich and the poor.

Somjai Phagaphasvivat, an independent political and economic analyst, said Thailand is in dire need of a national strategic plan to rehabilitate the ailing economy once the virus crisis eases.

"A national strategy to tackle changing technologies, geopolitics, global warming, health and economic inequality is essential," he said.

"Even President Biden is changing the US's role from global policeman to focus more on China, Russia, Iran, terrorism and global warming."

According to Mr Somjai, China is challenging Taiwan and Japan in building power in the South China Sea. China has an advantage over the US in this region as a result of cooperation on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and other regional agreements in the Mekong basin, he said.

Thailand must balance itself if conflict arises, said Mr Somjai.

"Though the US and China have conflicts, the two still cooperate to a degree on climate change," he said.

"This may result in an increase in trade barriers in the future, such as a hike in import tariffs in developed countries such as the US, EU states and China."

Thailand has neither expertise nor technology to tackle global warming and this will reduce the country's competitiveness in the future, said Mr Somjai.

He also warned geopolitical factors can affect economic issues and turn into trade wars.

Thailand should use Asean's clout to increase its bargaining power, said Mr Somjai.

"The pandemic has created greed. Developed countries now control 80% of global vaccine stocks, leading less developed countries to face a shortage of vaccines for their people. The lack of vaccinations has resulted in rapid mutations of Covid-19 in less-developed nations," he said.

"Thailand should have a Covid-19 charter with Asean to prepare for future outbreaks."

Mr Somjai said other important issues include health and economic inequality, as well as rapid assistance for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

He said the Covid-19 crisis has left scars as people face hardships, particularly the poor and SMEs, which lack cash as they try to compete against potential monopolies by big players.

Mr Somjai also urged the government to speed up education reform by focusing on upgrading workers' skills and quality rather than the number of doctorate graduates.

"As the world continues to evolve, Thailand has no strategic blueprint," he said.

"The government and private sector must cooperate more closely to cope with the changing economic structure. I'm not concerned about Thailand's prospects over the next one or two years, but over the next 5-10 years."

According to Mr Somjai, despite these myriad challenges, the Thai economy is expected to manage growth this year after a 6.1% contraction last year.

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