Prayut denies talk of new governor selection method

Prayut denies talk of new governor selection method

Somkid was urging people 'with vision' to take posts

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak has started a firestorm of opposition to his suggestion to pour money into the provinces and provide governors with vision to manage it. He was speaking late last week at a seminar, 2017: Thailand's Turning Point, held by the Economic Reporters Association. (Photo by Krit Promsaka na Sakolnakorn)
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak has started a firestorm of opposition to his suggestion to pour money into the provinces and provide governors with vision to manage it. He was speaking late last week at a seminar, 2017: Thailand's Turning Point, held by the Economic Reporters Association. (Photo by Krit Promsaka na Sakolnakorn)

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has denied a report stating the government will revamp the selection system of provincial governors by seeking experts, including those outside the Interior Ministry, to serve in the positions.

According to some media reports Monday, the prime minister has agreed with a proposal recommended by Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, who supervises economic affairs, for governors. The reports said Mr Somkid argued more funds had been allocated to each province so experts are needed to manage them, to be selected via a "special method".

The government has granted a 190-billion-baht supplementary budget to the provinces. More than half of the money will go to the 18 provincial clusters.

In addition, Mr Somkid reportedly suggested the terms of new-blood governors should be set at four to five years. Currently, most governors are transferred to other provinces every two years.

Speaking after a meeting of the committee on administration policies for provincial clusters Monday, Gen Prayut said he discussed the report with Mr Somkid who denied making these suggestions.

Mr Somkid said he only wants "governors who have vision" to oversee important provinces, the prime minister said.

His deputy also argued governors should get terms in office which give them enough time to carry out their jobs.

"But everything must be in line with the governor selection methods of the Interior Ministry," Gen Prayut added.

"It is just an idea of his [Mr Somkid] that we should have governors who have expertise, strength, vision and initiative."

Gen Prayut said he suggested Mr Somkid talk to the Interior Ministry and ask it to include criteria he wants to see in the ministry's selection method.

"The prime minister can't simply appoint certain people to the [governor] posts," he said.

The report surprised senior authorities at the Interior Ministry who joined Monday in Gen Prayut's denials that such a proposal was aired, or new governor appointment criteria were floated.

Mr Somkid only said it is important to select the right provincial governors to carry out budget spending better, Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda said, referring to his latest talk with Mr Somkid Monday morning.

"I have no idea where the news came from," he said.

Permanent interior secretary Grisada Boonrach said if there are to be any updates in the future, it is better to hear of the changes when they are released officially by the cabinet.

Monday's meeting of the committee on administration policies for provincial clusters also did not talk about governor selection criteria.

Gen Prayut, who chaired the meeting, said participants considered development projects.


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