The nation's business tycoons are being urged to help play a crucial role in stimulating the country's economy in order to restore foreign confidence in Thailand.
Business leaders including Dhanin Chearavanont, chairman of Charoen Pokphand Group (seated centre), Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, chairman of Thai Beverage (second left), and Tos Chirathivat, chief executive of Central Group (right), held talks with the Commerce Ministry yesterday. TAWATCHAI KHEMGUMNERD
Commerce Minister Chatchai Sarikulya yesterday met the country's business leaders including Dhanin Chearavanont, chairman and chief executive officer of Charoen Pokphand Group, Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, chairman of Thai Beverage Plc, Vathit Chokwatana, director of Saha Group, and Tos Chirathivat, chief executive of Central Group.
They discussed strategies to restore the confidence of foreigners in Thailand and the Thai economy and how to boost the country's trade and investment.
Gen Chatchai said after the meeting that the government had called on the tycoons' cooperation in the government's reform attempt as well as to boost the quality and add value to Thai products.
The government also pledged to accelerate amending more than 20 existing laws and regulations that are deemed obstacles to trade and business.
The draft amendments should be finalised within one month and submitted the National Legislative Assembly in three months in a bid to raise the competitiveness of the private sector.
"The private sector is also patriotic. The business leaders agree with the government's efforts and are ready to team up with the government sector to improve the country and the economy," Gen Chatchai said.
"The meeting also marks a new dimension, as the business tycoons agreed to join the meeting and offer their valuable opinions."
Gen Chatchai also quoted them as saying they agreed with the government's new economic stimulus packages while suggesting the government let market forces work in handling farm prices.
The cabinet on Wednesday approved a 365-billion-baht stimulus package including a cash injection of up to 15,000 baht each for more than 3 million rice farmers nationwide.
The package approved by the cabinet is aimed at boosting the economy over the next three months.
Under one scheme, 1.8 million households, each possessing a maximum of 15 rai of farmland, will by Oct 20 receive a one-time payment for cultivation costs at the rate of 1,000 baht a rai.
Another 1.6 million households, each owning more than 15 rai, will receive a flat sum of 15,000 baht per household.
A total of 3.4 million households are eligible for the aid.
While the private sector mostly foresees a contraction in Thailand's exports this year, the minister said he still believed shipments should still move in a positive range.
He said the country's exports for the remaining months of the year were expected to recover.
Mr Tos said the joint meeting between the Commerce Ministry and business leaders was a good start to underlining cooperation between the government and the private sector.
He urged the government to step up investment in logistics and upgrading the quality of farm products.
Mr Tos also urged other ministries and state agencies to cooperate in a similar manner.
Mr Charoen, meanwhile, agreed, saying closer cooperation and connectivity between the private sector and state bodies would streamline the private sector in running their business, eventually helping to raise the quality of life of low-income earners.