Retiring civil servant tipped to be finance minister

Retiring civil servant tipped to be finance minister

PM reportedly impressed with performance of Prasong Poontaneat in carrying out economic policy

Prasong Poontaneat, who will retire as permanent secretary of the Finance Ministry next week, is reported to be the prime minister’s choice to become the new finance minister. (Photo by Arnun Chonmahatrakool)
Prasong Poontaneat, who will retire as permanent secretary of the Finance Ministry next week, is reported to be the prime minister’s choice to become the new finance minister. (Photo by Arnun Chonmahatrakool)

Finance permanent secretary Prasong Poontaneat, who will retire from the civil service at the end of this month, is expected to become the new finance minister, a government source said on Friday.

Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow, who oversees economic policy, told reporters that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha had informed him that the government had found someone to fill the finance minister post.

“The PM said the new finance minister will start working in October. I don’t know his name but the PM assures me that we can definitely work together. And by that it means our ideas are geared toward the same direction,” he said.

The position has been vacant since Sept 2, when former banker Predee Daochai quit after just 26 days in the post, reportedly because of disagreements with his deputy, veteran politician Santi Promphat, over the appointments of senior bureaucrats.

Mr Prasong has already tendered his resignation from all board positions in preparation for a new role, according to the source, who asked not to be named.

The source said Gen Prayut appreciated the performance of Mr Prasong in driving the government’s economic campaigns.

Gen Prayut said last week that he would name a new finance minister next month. Somchai Sujjapongse, another former ministry permanent secretary, was reported at the time to be another potential candidate, along with Chartchai Phayuhanawee, a former Government Savings Bank president.

Mr Prasong succeeded Mr Somchai in the top position at the ministry in April 2018 after the latter quit the civil service, reportedly in protest over a plan to move him to the National Economic and Social Development Board.

A seasoned tax collector, Mr Prasong was director-general of the Revenue Department before his elevation to permanent secretary. He has also served as director-general of the Customs Department and the State Enterprise Policy Office.


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