By THE NATION
Speaking on his weekly TV programme yesterday, he said that at present Thailand was a middle-income nation, meaning it didn’t get the full range of privileges from the global economy.
“Our goods now have difficulty competing. Therefore, we need to quicken the pace of competitiveness in all dimensions, namely products, trade, innovation, adding value, and the conversion of raw materials into higher-valued items before export,” he said.
Referring to the collaboration in infrastructure projects between Thailand and foreign countries, he said this was ongoing with China and Japan and there would likely be several more countries following suit.
He said working committees would need to engage in dialogues and negotiations with countries until a consensus was reached. No agreements have been signed yet, and the government is striving to get the best offers for Thailand.
Prayut said the benefits for the co-investing countries needed to be secured, with committees set up to conduct talks on various matters.
The prime minister also touched on the issue of water management.
He said the government had laid out its strategic water-management plan for 2015-16 and it aimed to lay the foundation for stable and prosperous agricultural developments. It would try to increase accessibility to water while still effectively preserving natural resources and preventing repercussions on people’s lifestyles.
He outlined the main water-management projects slated for completion within 10 years.
They include enhancing the efficiency of current irrigation projects, managing water demands over 5.8 million rai (928,000 hectares), developing new water sources and irrigation systems, revitalising 15,688 water sources and natural streams, supporting the appropriation of 270,000 wells for needy farmers and developing 1,715 community water sources.
As for the industrial sector, he said the government would develop the Eastern region water network with a budget of Bt5.19 billion.
He said the government would also develop water sources this year in conjunction with the development of the special economic zones in Tak’s Mae Sot district, Sa Kaew’s Aranyaprathet district and Songkhla’s Sadao district.
This would be in addition to supporting water sources for the service and tourism sector in Trat’s Koh Chang district and Surat Thani’s Koh Pha-ngan in 2016.