Depa preps B900m to drive digital economy

Depa preps B900m to drive digital economy

Agency to underpin smart city expansion

The Digital Economy Promotion Agency (Depa) wants to pursue six projects to drive the country's digital economy and smart city development under its fiscal 2023 budget.

The agency plans to seek 900 million baht for its fiscal 2023 budget.

Depa president and chief executive Nuttapon Nimmanphatcharin said 600 million baht would be spent on ongoing construction of the largest building under the Thailand Digital Valley project with an area of 40,000 square metres. The project is located in the Eastern Economic Corridor.

Depa aims to allot some 150 million baht to six projects to support the country's digital economy.

Of this amount, 50 million baht will be used to support local tech startups with the aim of creating at least 30 startups valued at over 1 billion baht each.

Some 60 million baht will be set aside to support 15 smart cities with city data platform development and to cater for industrial upgrades to boost productivity and enhance the competitiveness of Thai products in international markets. The remainder will be for smart farming development, building knowledge about new regulations for small and medium-sized enterprises and developing coding skills via academies.

According to Mr Nuttapon, another 150 million baht is set to be used in the operation and management of Depa, including employee salaries.

He said smart city development is a key project of this government.

In terms of the smart city drive, the state's city data must be open and connected with that of the private sector, with data-based solutions being utilised to support city management.

Depa stands ready to provide data catalogues, data storage systems and IT infrastructure of the same standard applied to these smart cities. Efforts to push for city data platforms for 15 smart cities is expected to bear fruit within one year, said Mr Nuttapon.

The agency recently won a UN Public Service Award (2022) for "Fostering Innovation to Deliver Inclusive and Equitable Services" for its collaborative development project at Koh Libong in the southern province of Trang.

He said the project, which was launched in 2019, helps the community on the island capitalise on digital technology, especially by utilising drones to protect natural resources and the lives of rare creatures.

By using the technology, there has been a drop in the loss of marine resources caused by illegal fishing, a decline in dugong poaching, and a fall in the number of dugong deaths in accidents caused by tourism boats.

Depa supported the local community through the provision of training activities and knowledge transfer in the area of digital tech, especially on how to use drones and apply for official licences for the operation of drones.

The use of technology has resulted in an increase in income tallying 2 million baht per year, while reducing the operating costs of the tourism boat business and cost of patrolling the waters by 196,000 baht per month.

This award-winning project represents a collaboration between Depa, the Libong Island Tourism and Occupational Development Community Enterprise in Kantang District, Trang province and the Community Organisation Development Institute.

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