By SIRIVISH TOOMGUM
The premier made his remarks yesterday at the opening of the four-day “Thailand Industry Expo 2018”, which is being hosted by the Industry Ministry at the Impact Muang Thong Thani convention centre.
He said there is a concern that the use of advanced technologies by businesses in the industry 4.0 era would cost people their jobs. He told related ministers and the private sector to join forces to seek ways to re-educate workers and improve their knowledge to let them catch up with the change in industry.
The education sector should also focus more on producing graduates in the scientific and R&D fields to serve emerging new high-tech industries in Thailand, he said.
“Somebody asked how can we reach the 4.0 era as we are now in 1.0 stage, and what should we do if the world moves to 5.0,” he said. “That’s a very unproductive statement – we have to start now otherwise we would go nowhere.”
As the country is drawing more foreign investment, especially to the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), and requires foreign investors to use a great number of local people if they want to gain tax incentives, the country should also prepare a sufficient number of skilled workers to match the demand, he added.
The premier said that the country is at a milestone of moving forward under the Thailand 4.0 model, which is a tool to help Thailand escape the middle income trap and become a high income nation in the next 20 years.
The government has also introduced several measures to upgrade small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to become “smart enterprises”, which they say will be the key to drive the country forward and boost economic growth.
More income for farmers
The government has to develop all sectors to bring low-income people into the system, to enable them to have proper incomes, Prayut said. “The most important thing is to increase revenue for more than 20 million people in the farm sector,” he said.
Industry Minister Uttama Savanayana said that the objective of the event is to raise awareness of business operators, especially SMEs, on the importance of using advanced technologies to enhance their competitiveness and boost productivity.
There are around five million combined SMEs and small shop operators in Thailand.
The promotion of the use of advanced technology, such as robotics, is in line with the government’s policy of transforming Thailand’s economy to be a value-based economy.