Planning body seeks fresh talent

Planning body seeks fresh talent

Prime Minister's Office Minister Suvit Maesincee PATTARACHAI PREECHAPANICH
Prime Minister's Office Minister Suvit Maesincee PATTARACHAI PREECHAPANICH

A new generation of independent experts will be included in the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) to help the state planning unit catch up with the new national agenda and future trends.

The NESDB's current members are due to step down in August this year.

According to the Prime Minister's Office Minister Suvit Maesincee, the agency needs a fresh generation of capable members if it wants to achieve the government's goal of focusing on a new national agenda and future trends.

The National Reform and Reconciliation Committee chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in April agreed on a transformation plan for the NESDB, while authorising Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam and Ampon Kitti-ampon, the committee's secretary-general, to act as advisers for the government's planning unit to transform into a real think-tank that shapes the country's long-term vision and mission.

Founded in 1950 under the administration of prime minister Plaek Pibulsongkram as the National Economic Council, the NESDB provides the government with opinions and recommendations on economic issues.

In 1959, prime minister Sarit Dhanarajata restructured the council and gave it a new name, the Office of the National Economic Development Board. In 1961, this office launched the nation's first economic development plan.

In 1972, social development was recognised as an essential part of the national plan. The newly renamed NESDB was brought under the Office of the Prime Minister.

In addition to recommendations on economic and social development matters to the cabinet and prime minister, the NESDB scrutinises the National Economic and Social Development Plan and other proposals before submitting them for cabinet consideration.

It also sets up a coordinating mechanism between itself and concerned agencies and state enterprises for the planning and implementation of development programmes.

NESDB representatives sit on 600 different committees, which is a cumbersome arrangement. The board also functions as the secretariat of the committee on national reform, strategy and reconciliation.

Mr Suvit said the existing 15-member NESDB board will be maintained and six more boards will be set up to oversee six key issues: security, human resource development, education, national resource and environment, economy and public administration.

He said the state planning unit needs to be proactive and function more like a "future lab" capable of studying global changes and a "policy lab" advising the government.

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, who visited the agency in April, has instructed the agency to urgently change to concentrate on handling new challenges such as an ageing society, rapid urbanisation and human resource development to embrace the Thailand 4.0 economy that focuses on technology and innovation.

The board was told to leave non-essential jobs such as monitoring the investment of state enterprises to other state agencies, focusing only on large development projects that play a significant role in the country's development.

The agency will focus on how to attract young, talented people to work for the agency.

According to NESDB secretary-general Porametee Vimolsiri, NESDB law is being amended to pave the way for the agency to work for the future issues and restructure itself to become the secretariat of the national strategy committee and the national reform committee.

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