Over the past five years, economic growth has fallen below the targets set, while over the next two years Thailand will still have to face the challenges and uncertainties of the global economy, said Danucha Pichayanan, secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC), during an annual meeting yesterday entitled "Transitioning Thailand: Coping with the Future".
He said over the past five years, the economy had expanded by 1.4% on average due to the impact of the pandemic between 2020 and 2021. However, excluding the impact of the pandemic, the economy grew by only 2.6%, below the target of 5% per year.
During the past two years, world growth has been more volatile and uncertain than before the financial crisis, with high inflation in some countries.
He said in 2022, it was predicted the US economy may enter a recession due to high inflation, although some research houses say it has less chance of doing so. However, Europe still faces the problem of high inflation, while key advanced European economies still face lower growth. China is facing deflation, massive debt and a wobbly housing market.
According to the NESDC, there are five main global risks -- economic fluctuation, fragile societies, scarce natural resources, geopolitical conflicts and the advent of new and advanced technology at a rapid pace. Thailand needs to choose between a high-growth development model or moderate growth which is resilient to risk and uncertainty.
Mr Danucha said Thailand's transition must take into consideration global risks by incorporating green growth to drive the economy sustainably with the least possible impact on the environment and inclusive growth across society which would create fairness and equality, leading to sustainable growth in the long term.
Thailand's transition to a new development model focuses on promoting sustainable and green growth while fostering equal opportunities for all under transparent management and good governance.
The 13th National Economic and Social Development Plan, announced on Oct 1, 2022, aims to make Thailand stable, prosperous and sustainable in four dimensions.
First, it must restructure its manufacturing and service industries, particularly by upgrading smart farming, creating added value in the medical and health industry, promoting electric vehicles and elevating tourism by offering long-term resident visas by leveraging the bio-circular-green concept and soft power.
Second, the country must invest in human resources through upskilling, reskilling and lifelong learning and promote government open data in order to keep up with the rapid pace of digital development.
Third, the plan emphasises providing everyone with equal opportuinities and justice through capacity-building for small and medium-sized enterprises, the development of smart city indicators, the provision of state welfare schemes, along with education for all.
Finally, the country has to place greater emphasis on environmental protection and long-term solutions to deal with the effects of climate change.