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Political turmoil will hit the economy badly, business sector warns

Nov 24. 2013
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By Petchanet Pratruangkrai
The S

Some businessmen foresee the dissolution of the House of Representatives or a government change. Though this means political vacuum, it should end a prolonged political turmoil that will only hinder Thailand's economic growth and destroy consumer spendin
Prominent business people, attending the 31st annual meeting of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC) in Trang, shared the view that Thailand required a big change in politics to end the conflict and promote economic growth. 
The meeting wraps up today.
TCC chairman Isara Vongkusolkit said private enterprises were very concerned about the current conflict and possible violence if anti-government protests continue.
“This political disorder will only destroy growth. However, if Parliament is dissolved, the economy would need some time to get back on track as there would be a vacuum during the election,” Isara said. 
Boonchai Chokwatana, vice chairman to the TCC, said.“The current government was unable to promote growth as it only concentrated on solving political problems. Schemes like waiving tax for first-car buyers and its rice-pledging project have destroyed consumer spending power and made economic expansion sluggish."
He pointed out that the economy this year could suffer flat growth if political disorder continues for another three to six months. 
Boonchai said that to solve this problem, the best option for the government would be to dissolve the Parliament or introduce some change. The private sector is ready for change if it can promote better growth. The ongoing disorder will only destroy growth and the Thai economy could contract next year. 
The vice chairman also said the government needed to adjust its key populist policies, particularly the rice-pledging scheme as it would create a huge debt for the country. The government can either directly pay the farmers or subsidise production rather than distorting the market mechanism.
Phongsak Assakul, honorary chairman to the chamber, said TCC members were very concerned about the political situation. He said it may be best if both sides could opt talk rather than confront each other. 
Pornsil Patchrintanakul, TCC’s vice chairman, reiterated that the political problem had severely affected the country’s growth, warning that the longer it continues, the worse the problems would get. Hence, he said, all involved sides should step back and see what is best for the country. 

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