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Focus on skills upgrade sharpened

May 22. 2019
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A COMMITTEE that draws on the public and private sectors to solve economic problems yesterday discussed ways of upgrading workers’ skills for the needs of the country’s targeted industries and the digital sector.

Thailand has identified 10 hi-tech industries for development in order to boost competitiveness; these range from next generation automotive production to robotics.

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said that the private and state sectors would set up taskforces to work on plugging skills shortages. The meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

The chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries, Supant Mongkolsuthree, said after the meeting that the private sector also proposed to the government that it support its plan for the establishment of a private sector fund to be used for developing innovations. The fund plans to raise Bt1 billion.

It also asked the government to act as a mentor of the fund in the initial phase.

The private sector also handed the white papers for the plan to the premier; it had earlier given copies of the document to all political parties. The papers contain its recommendations on how the government should manage the economy. Among the recommendations are that the government should issue measures to boost people’s purchasing power.

Kalin Sarasin, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said that the private sector also proposed that the government liberalise the education sector as a means of improving the country's competitiveness by allowing people with specialised knowledge to offer courses in Thailand.

In this regard, Somkid approved in principle that the process of applying for permits to offer such courses should be relaxed.

The meeting yesterday did not discuss the possible impacts of the US-China trade war on Thailand, which caused an annualised 2.5 per cent contraction in the country's export sector in April.

Somkid added that the contraction would likely worsen if the trade war kept going. 

He said that the country's economy needs a push from the domestically, especially from investment in the proposed mega-projects in the remainder of the year. These projects are expected draw investment of over Bt700 billion. Once a new government is installed, it will be ready to push forward these projects.

Among the projects under construction are the second phase of the development of Suvarnabhumi International Airport, the Yellow Line mass transit route from Lad Prao to Samrong, the Pink Line mass transit route from Ka Rai to Minburi, the Bang Yai-Kanchanaburi Motor Way, and the Bangkok to Korat section of the Thailand-China high speed railway.


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