Thai Sang Thai Party reveals strategy for digital economy
published : 29 Mar 2023 at 06:23
newspaper section: Business
writer: Komsan Tortermvasana
The Thai Sang Thai Party proposed its digital economy agenda to steer Thailand's economic recovery, guiding the country out of the middle-income trap and ensuring sustainability.
The party said it can achieve its digital economy goals via three strategies -- equipping people with digital skills, promoting private investment in innovation, and government support -- said Takorn Tantasith, the party's committee chair for developing the efficiency of the nation's digital economy.
Last Sunday, he took the stage for the party's presentation of its policies and goals related to the digital economy.
Mr Takorn is the former secretary-general of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, ushering in auctions for the 3G, 4G and 5G wireless broadband licences, which generated 522 billion baht for state coffers.
He said his experience in that position for a decade included working closely with the public and private sectors in the telecom and technology domains, both in Thailand and overseas.
Mr Takorn said that effort gave him hope for the Thai economy and was the reason he joined the party.
The party's one core policy is to forge Thailand's digital economy to make the country strong in the global trade arena, as well as create stable careers for Thais.
He said the key pillars for building the digital economy are people, the private sector and the government.
For the people, the party plans to equip them with digital, calculation, programming and language skills.
Mr Takorn said the party can immediately implement digital skill development at a national level via free online learning courses.
The party could also join with partners and international learning platforms to offer such courses, he said.
Moreover, the party could join forces with educational institutes nationwide to turn them into centres to provide in-person training courses to learners.
The project is aimed at providing people with access to digital skills, regardless of their financial status and location, said Mr Takorn.
For the second pillar, the party wants to encourage the private sector to invest in innovation and job creation via two channels.
The first channel is the digital business cluster, which will draw both local and foreign investment, said Mr Takorn.
Thailand's strengths include its location and strong infrastructure, such as broadband internet and e-payment channels, he said.
If Thailand can prepare its people and improve related rules, it can convince more large businesses and tech startups to invest in the country, Mr Takorn said.
The second channel is the establishment of a community digital economy fund to promote village-level digital businesses in the form of joint ventures between the public and private sectors.
He said the government and communities will jointly invest in potential digital businesses in communities, with the government facilitating them in terms of related regulations.
If a business grows, the state can sell the shares back to the entrepreneurs or opt to receive dividends over the long term.
The initial budget for the fund could begin at 15 billion baht, with the average amount distributed to each one of the 75,032 villages nationwide estimated at 200,000 baht, said Mr Takorn.
Global platform providers that use the national telecom infrastructure and provide services in Thailand could be compelled to contribute to the fund, keeping the burden off of the public and the state budget, he said.
If funding from platform providers proves insufficient, fundraising through the issuance of government bonds could be pursued, said Mr Takorn.
Regarding the third pillar, he said the government should focus on various roles, including setting a national digital economy strategy.
Mr Takorn said government needs to join with the private sector in building the digital economy, enforcing and tweaking rules to ensure they contribute to but do not obstruct the sector's development.
In addition, the government should digitalise public services to let people access faster services at lower costs.
"If we can seize this opportunity, the goal of a growing, inclusive and sustainable economy is within reach," he said.
- Thai Sang Thai