The Commerce Ministry wants to expedite nine initiatives aimed at strengthening small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), starting with two focused on job creation via franchising and stimulating domestic purchasing power.
According to Deputy Commerce Minister Napintorn Srisunpang, who recently chaired a working panel meeting on promoting and upgrading Thai SMEs, other initiatives include the integration of units that offer knowledge to SMEs; adding value and enhancing recognition of geographical indication products; managing agricultural products to maintain price balance; small-scale retail business development with modern trade systems; and promoting local SME growth through the SME-GP government procurement system.
The ministry also pledged to support and standardise e-commerce businesses and promote the development of Thai jewellery and accessories.
These measures aim to make SMEs strong, vital contributors to the country's economic growth, said Mr Napintorn.
"To push the GDP of SMEs from 35.2% to 40% of the total by 2027 as targeted by the ministry, collaboration from all sectors is crucial," he said.
"To achieve this ambitious goal, the panel agreed on two urgent measures for immediate implementation: job creation through franchise systems and increasing domestic purchasing. This is intended to stimulate foreign workers residing in Thailand to buy local products instead of sending money abroad."
According to Mr Napintorn, the focus will initially be on workers from Myanmar because there are an estimated 2.52 million.
The pilot project will categorise products into two groups: those familiar to Myanmar workers, and One Tambon One Product items that do not yet have outlets in Myanmar.
The first product group allows Myanmar buyers to purchase products from Thai producers through ordering systems, while the Thai producers handle delivery to distribution centres or outlets, or their networks in Myanmar.
For the second product group, Myanmar workers residing in Thailand buy products through the logistics platform, with delivery handled by both Thai and Myanmar logistics platforms, reaching households directly in Myanmar.
Prompt action is considered vital to create opportunities for Thai SMEs, enhance their competitiveness, and achieve the 40% GDP target, allowing them to withstand overseas competition, he said.
Auramon Supthaweethum, director-general of the Business Development Department, said negotiations between the private sector and partner organisations have allocated trading space in Bangkok at discounted rates for Thai SMEs and franchises.
Potential locations include petrol stations, community market operators, department stores and large retailers, said Mrs Auramon.