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Somkid seeks economic inspiration

Nov 30. 2015
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By The Nation
Udon Thani

Calls on private sector to embrace 'people's state' policy
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak plans to meet private firms featured on the SET 100 list to push for cooperation between the government and private sectors to boost the “people’s state” policy.
Somkid said listed companies have an influence on the country’s economic drive and they post an average of Bt100-500 billion in annual earnings. 
“If we bring about 1-2 per cent of that amount in cooperation with the government to achieve our goal. The government wants to make the people understand how to go about – the people’s state – policy, dispersing wealth into the grass roots,” said Somkid. 
Speaking at a seminar yesterday organised by the Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC) in Udon Thani, Somkid said the government was ready for forge ahead with its economic stimulus plan by means of innovation.
Meanwhile, the TCC expressed an interest in seeking close economic cooperation with the government. 
At the seminar, entitled “Innovate to Excellence”, chambers of commerce from all provinces of Thailand agreed that in order to drive the country’s economy forward, all sides must work together, be they the government, the private sector or provincial offices. 
He said the effectiveness of “the people’s state” policy would depend on the cooperation of three parties: the government, the people and the private sector.
“This policy is not for seeking votes, but for making the people a better of life and reducing inequality that will eventually lead to reconciliation,” said Somkid. 
Over the next few years, he said, Asia and the Asean region would experience geopolitical changes. But even though Thailand is located at the centre of the changes, it will not benefit from those changes if it does nothing.
“The economic reform is underway right now while we write a new draft of the constitution and expect to have a new election in the next 18 months. The world is now watching Thailand. If we continue to have conflicts, the world will no longer watch this country,” said Somkid.
He said on Thursday he would accompany 20 business people to a meeting with Prime Minister Prayut General Chan-o-cha for a discussion on how to drive the economic policy into a concrete agenda.
Yesterday’s seminar also provided participants with an opportunity to share their thoughts and experiences on how innovation and technology can help upscale the quality and standards of Thai agricultural products. 
Apart from Somkid, other prominent figures taking part in the event were Tourism Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Science and Technology Minister Pichet Durongkaveroj, Deputy Commerce Minister Suvit Maesincee, and Isara Vongkusolkit, chairperson of the Thai Chamber of Commerce. 
Isara said during the seminar that the TCC realised the importance of competitiveness over the past two years, focusing on innovation excellence and digital technology development driven by radical social and economic changes.
“Doing business nowadays requires us to compete against time in response to the changes,” he said, adding that the TCC would help corporate firms adopt new technologies as a tool to turn around businesses.
Thailand has to improve its ability to compete and build economic stability if it wants to thrive in the Asean Economic Community, which will be formed at the end of this year, according to the TCC. Meanwhile, Kobkarn said she would embrace the eco-tourism plan and she expects tourism revenue to reach Bt2.3 trillion next year.
In separate event, Udon Thani’s Chamber of Commerce and provincial Commerce Office as well as local food operators have co-launched a budget food project to help reduce the living expenses of residents. 

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