Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has urged Thais to unite as one, assuring them that the government is moving ahead with the country's greatest infrastructure-building programme in its history.
Gen Prayut on Friday spoke to the nation in a 20-minute address posted on the Government House website, and gave details of what he insisted is his administration's ambitious plan to drive Thailand into the heart of the 21st century now that Covid-19 appears to be on the wane and the country's economic wheels are moving again.
"For far too long, short-term governments have delivered short-term, quick-fix solutions to poverty for various reasons. Or they have used various types of handout programmes which, of course, help to ease our pain and are needed during crises, but they are not sustainable long-term solutions, and they certainly don't make anyone rich.
"We simply cannot solve poverty with short-term policies and handouts. I have, therefore, resolved to move forward decisively and get the big things done that can help us all earn more, sustainably. And I ask you to stand by my side as I complete these long-term assignments for all of us," Gen Prayut said.
He said he is pursuing a three-pronged programme to lift national prosperity.
The three constituent parts of the policy are to further develop the country's infrastructure, bolster industrial development to increase wealth among the workforce and foundation-building aimed at helping everyone build a prosperous future with a financial fall-back should they need it.
The prime minister said the multi-year programme of roadways, railways, seaports and airports that will soon be completed is designed to help boost everyone's prosperity.
"My focus has been to solve the problem of how to get these hundreds of projects built and integrated.
"The reason for that focus on making them happen is because I know that once these, high-speed rail, road, seaport, and airport projects are completed they will then be connected like a big jigsaw.
"And that's when we can expect our nation's prosperity to surge -- once they are all connected up. Great, connected transport infrastructure equips everyone to create greater wealth for themselves and the country,'' he said.
He said the second prong of his big-picture strategy to increase the wealth of Thais is to do with industry.
Gen Prayut said despite the automotive sector having been the most important driver of the country's prosperity for the last 30 years, the industry is at risk, because of the global transition to electric vehicles.
"It is a time when auto manufacturers may choose to put their new types of factories in other countries. We must move faster than other countries in this region who are trying to move this industry out of Thailand," he said.
"I have, therefore, been driving a programme to make Thailand a global production hub for one of the world's most important industries of the future: the manufacture of electric vehicles. We must keep auto manufacturers here, and we must make it easy for them to grow their businesses"
In the third phase, foundation-building would help everyone build sustainable prosperity for themselves via the banking sector.
"Right now, our country has over 30 million people who are unable to get formal loans and who may not even have a bank account at all!" he said.
Two years ago, he said he called on everyone to come together to fight the great threat posed by Covid-19.
"Everyone responded and, as a result we succeeded. Not only did we succeed, but we showed the entire world how we could be among the best in the world with that success.
"Today, I call on everyone to show that same spirit: to do the same and to come together to achieve an even greater task.
"Let's build our country quickly; let's together fight the pandemic of poverty, and restore the nation's economic health with your knowledge, your dedication, your hard work, your energy, your entrepreneurial spirit, your passion, and most importantly your great Thai positive spirit; and I will make sure the government provides the finest infrastructure, strong industries, and a helpful banking sector in line with the new age. We can do it and we will see results in less than two years! So, let's do it. Chuem Thai Duen Na [Connect Thailand and Advance],'' he said.