By Asina Pornwasin
"Science and technology is a long-term job. We do it for the future outcome, not instant return.
"We’re satisfied with the job we’ve done in paving the way to leading the country to getting better across all aspects," Science Minister Pichet Durongkaveroj said yesterday. He praised the 14 organisations under the ministry for collaborating to help support the government’s policy to drive the country’s economy and competitiveness as well as social living through the utilisation of science and technology.
The ministry has been working with organisations inside and outside the ministry in applying science and technology to increase the country’s economic value, improve the country’s living society, persuade both the government and private sectors to invest more in science and technology, support the country’s infrastructure and serve the government’s mega-projects such as the rail project, he said.
The ministry has issued several policies to encourage both the government and private sectors to use science and technology to drive the country forward. The ministry aims to raise the country’s total investment in research and development in science and technology to Bt100 billion or about 1 per cent of gross domestic product, launch a 300-per-cent tax refund for companies’ spending on R&D, and join forces with industries, especially the electronics industry, which is mostly overseas companies with large manufacturing bases in Thailand.
"The value of electronics exports is more than Bt500 billion a year. We worked with them to keep them investing here in Thailand and making technology transfers through joint research and joint training," he said.
For the agriculture sector, the ministry promotes the use of science and technology by farmers to increase their competitiveness.
The next job is to send a bill to the National Legislative Assembly that would make it easier to commercialise the results of R&D activities.
"We plan to ask the Cabinet to approve making the country’s science and technology management system more flexible and more useful for all stakeholders.
"We will revise the country’s budget management for science and technology," Pichet said.
"There are a lot more jobs to complete, and we’re committed to working hard to pave the way to lead the country forward with the utilisation of science and technology."