Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has compared the country to a vehicle with 70 million passengers that needs unity to move forward.
Speaking at the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) Expo 2022, "Shaping Future Industries for Stronger Thailand", the premier said the public and private sectors must work together in the face of changes and challenges.
Technological advancements in numerous fields spell the need for innovative developments, which would affect the manufacturing sector of every country including Thailand, he told the forum which was organised under the so-called bio-, circular and green (BCG) economic model.
Gen Prayut was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister and Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow, Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda, and Digital Economy and Society Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn.
"Thailand is no exception. It has to face the winds of change, and the wind can turn into a storm. It is time for the private and public sectors to come to an understanding that we must collaborate or else it won't work," he said.
Gen Prayut said the government under his leadership had been pursuing talks with foreign governments in an attempt to drive industrial development and enhance the country's industrial strength.
"Thailand is like a massive car that moves 70 million people forward to the global stage. The government's job is to keep the engines running smoothly to ensure convenience for the passengers.
"We're in the same vehicle. We need to push it along even when it's in bad shape. But who will lead it is another story.
"What we're doing today has to keep going. It's not right to keep complaining about what should or shouldn't be," the prime minister said.
"It isn't easy because there are so many factors including technologies and the different skills of people, but our job is to get it going. The first thing is to get the car ready and get all the passengers on board without leaving anyone behind. That's the way I think it should be," he said.
Gen Prayut said public health remained the most important issue and the government would do its best to to alleviate economic hardship.
Thailand, he said, is a key destination for foreigners in terms of investment, work and living, and their presence should be seen as a boon to the country.
Addressing rising energy and transport costs, he said Thailand needs to purchase different kinds of fuel from overseas.
Higher energy prices, rising transport costs, runaway consumer good prices and even soaring inflation are closely tied to fiscal and monetary measures by foreign countries, he added.
Gen Prayut defended the government's borrowing, saying it needed to obtain loans to stimulate spending and drive growth. The economic outlook remains stable despite the borrowed funds, he said.
He said the country needed greater unity and that he was committed to working for everyone's interests while ramping up its competitiveness.