National strategic plan requires revamp
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National strategic plan requires revamp

Work proceeds on the construction of the Red Line mass transit project in Bangkok. Patipat Janthong
Work proceeds on the construction of the Red Line mass transit project in Bangkok. Patipat Janthong

The government is being urged to fine-tune the country's national strategy to keep abreast of changing social and economic trends caused by the global economic slowdown and the pandemic.

According to Kalin Sarasin, chairman of Thai Chamber of Commerce, the chamber is helping to map out the country's new strategy for the post-pandemic period and plans to submit it to the government for consideration soon.

"The 20-year national strategy [2018-37] and the 12th national economic and social development plan [2017-21] need revision after the deadly virus outbreak," said Mr Kalin.

"The new national strategy should focus on developing promising industries such as food, tourism, healthcare, medical equipment and renewable energy."

He said the government is being urged to come up with more effective water management tactics to tackle periodic water shortfalls and floods, as well as proceeding with planned infrastructure developments.

Another point of emphasis is raising employment in rural areas to increase income.

The latest meeting of the National Strategy Committee chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in April ordered the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) to revise the master plan for the first five years (2019-23) under the 20-year strategic plan.

The national strategy, which came into force on Oct 13, 2018, has 23 master plans. Under those plans, there are 15 urgent flagship projects that must be implemented during 2019-23.

The 15 projects are split into several groups: social and economic restructuring to increase competitiveness; upgrading Thais' skills; projects that can create a balance between social and economic growth; infrastructure projects that can drive long-term economic growth; and projects that can generate income to create sustainable growth.

The first five years (2019-23) of development are based on requirements set under the national strategic plan. Gross national income per capita is targeted to increase by an average of 70,000 baht to reach 360,000 baht in 2023, up from 290,000 baht in 2019.

Growth in agriculture, industry and services is targeted at 3.8%, 4.6% and 5.4%, respectively, in the 12th national plan.

NESDC secretary-general Thosaporn Sirisamphand said earlier the agency is scheduled to propose a revised plan by September.

Mr Kalin predicted the economy in the second half of the year is likely to fare better than the first half as the government is easing lockdown measures.

"We feel increasingly positive unemployment should stay below the 7 million people projected previously after the government lets more businesses reopen in the third stage of easing the lockdown," he said.

"The private sector is also suggesting the government rev up promoting domestic tourism to help revitalise the economy and consumption sentiment."

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