Six launch growth plan

Six launch growth plan

New cabinet's economic ministers unveil policy platform and mission to make long-term structural reforms

Thailand's newly appointed economic ministers yesterday outlined a policy platform aimed at boosting short-term growth and rebuilding confidence while also tackling longer-term structural reforms, narrowing economic inequality and wiping out corruption.

With all ministers and clear policies in place, it is hoped the economy can make a speedy recovery.

MR Pridiyathorn Devakula
Deputy prime minister

Policies:

- Accelerate disbursement of the fiscal 2014 budget and prepare funds for fiscal 2015

- Stimulate investment from the private and public sectors

- Speed up approval of the Board of Investment's investment applications

- Boost exports and reform farm prices

- Spur tourism and restore international tourist confidence

- Encourage job creation

- Promote economic and transport connectivity and ease regional trade and investment

- Increase investment in science and technology R&D by promoting innovation and setting up more research centres

- Promote the digital economy

Goal:

- Prepare the foundation for industrial, transport and agricultural reforms and the digital economy within one year

Sommai Phasee
Finance minister

Policies:

- Accelerate budget disbursement for the remaining period of fiscal 2014, speed up the budget drawdown for fiscal 2015 by setting targets to disburse expenses for training of at least 50% of total expenditure and prepare borrowing for ready-to-invest projects early in the fiscal year

- Tax reform to beef up competitiveness and bridge income inequality

- Expand the tax base by imposing new taxes on land and buildings, inheritance and gifts

- Revamp taxes on trade and review tax incentives for businesses

- Adjust tax privileges to benefit low-income earners and scrap taxes or tax allowances that are favourable to high-income earners

- Narrow the income gap and replace the negative income tax with populist policies

- Enhance the Finance Ministry's sustainability and transparency and push for a fiscal law that makes policy implementation more transparent, secure and sustainable

- Review the roles and supervision of off-budget use

- Address the financial problems of state enterprises, particularly the State Railway of Thailand, TOT Plc, CAT Telecom, the Islamic Bank of Thailand, the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Bank of Thailand, Thai Airways International and the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority; and speed up the rehabilitation of financially ailing state enterprises

- Strengthen specialised financial institutions and the savings system to serve as mechanisms underpinning a sustainable economy

- Allow low-income earners, retail businesses and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) access to financial sources and services

- Enhance the savings system, community welfare services and a fair borrowing system

- Seek financial sources to develop infrastructure projects such as infrastructure funds, public-private partnerships, borrowing and providing credit guarantees

- Arrange a system to track and evaluate budget disbursement for investment

- Disclose investment details to ensure transparency and enhance private sector investment

Goals:

- Spur an economic rebound

- Use taxes to foster fairness and narrow economic inequality among citizens nationwide

Chakramon Phasukvanich
Industry minister

Policies:

- Reform the ministry's working system to improve efficiency of officials with a measure to prevent interference by politicians for their personal benefit

- Accelerate projects that quickly boost economic growth

- Improve the competitiveness of SMEs

- Improve the logistics system to support the upcoming Asean Economic Community (AEC)

- Collaborate with the Labour Ministry in addressing the migrant labour issue

- Establish special economic zones in five southern provinces to serve the AEC

- Amend regulations in the industrial sector to support the business sector

- Accommodate the military government's digital economy policy to integrate all information from all parties to serve economic reform

Goal:

- Introduce in one year the new working system and essential measures aimed at paving the way for an elected government

Gen Chatchai Sarikulya
Commerce minister

Policies:

- Continue taking care of farm prices through prudent and proactive management of rice and key farm products to raise farmers' incomes (with state intervention taken only when necessary)

- Target measures at increasing farmers' productivity, reducing production costs, promoting more organic farming and creating off-season extra jobs for farmers

- Accelerate disposal of rice stocks that now stand at 15-18 million tonnes, mainly via government-to-government deals and general auctions

- Address the cost of living, particularly prices of consumer goods, with the ministry as part of the effort calling a meeting with operators this month to discuss price control measures

- Maintain export growth of 3% to 3.5% this year despite several agencies painting a bleak outlook for the country's export performance this year

- Increase exports next year by at least 4% using measures to boost shipments both in existing and new markets as well as stimulate border trade and make the best use of free trade area agreements

- Proceed with free trade talks with foreign partners, particularly through the Asean+3 (China, Japan and South Korea) and Asean+6 (Asean+3 and India, Australia and New Zealand) frameworks

- Revise and amend existing trade-related laws, particularly the Foreign Business Act, Trade Competition Act, Intellectual Property Act, Anti-Dumping Act and Retail Act, in a move to streamline trade and build up investors' confidence

Goal:

- Accomplish all efforts within one year

Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul
Tourism and sports minister

Policies:

- Promote transparency, reduce the duplication of work in each department, enhance cooperation with state agencies and private organisations and expedite action plans

- Achieve the target of 2.2 trillion baht in tourism revenue next year through measures such as creating tourism income in every part of society, distributing tourism income to rural areas and allowing SMEs to access secondary tourist cities; develop human resources, particularly tour guides; and improve the value and quality of Thai tourism

- Boost tourists' confidence and encourage longer stays in the country in a bid to increase spending per head and preserve the environment

- Attract foreign tourists through an emphasis on Thainess and culture as well as the natural beauty of the country

- Promote tourism through social media and online channels since many tourists now make online reservations

- Focus on quality tourists and promote niche markets while improving tourism facilities and destinations to increase convenience for visitors

- Reform the time-consuming immigration process and slow baggage claims by joining with relevant organisations

Goals:

- Boost tourism revenue to 2.2 trillion baht by 2015

- Have children spend two hours a week on sports

Pornchai Rujiprapa
Information and communication technology minister 

Policies:

- Drive all industrial sectors into the digital economy to boost economic growth and enhance living standards

- Promote software and ICT industries to enhance the industry's competitiveness and reduce the country's reliance on ICT networks and equipment imports

- Amend existing impractical laws and regulations regarding telecommunications and computers to ensure transparency and promote greater awareness of consumer protection

- Formulate an ICT master plan to transform the roles and responsibilities of the ICT Ministry and enhance its function

Goals:

- Become one of the "economic ministries"

- Motivate the telecommunications and broadcasting industries to contribute more to GDP than this year's expected 3%

- Accelerate the delayed 4G spectrum auctions taking place next year


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