Sunday, July 25, 2021

in-focus

PM highlights 7-point plan to drive the country forward


Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha sent a special article to Nation Multimedia Group on the occasion of The Nation newspaper’s 50th anniversary on July 1, writing that 2021 is a challenging year for the government as “we have to rehabilitate the economy amid the uncertainty of the Covid-19 situation” both domestic and overseas.

“Despite all these obstacles, the government is committed to moving the country forward and ensuring the economy can grow steadily again after the crisis is over,” he wrote. “Looking forward into the future, the government has outlined a 7-point plan to achieve long-term goals under six national strategies – national security, social cohesion, sustainable development, human capital enhancement, good governance and competitiveness promotion," he added.

The highlights of the plans are:

Plan 1: Reduce economic disparity and promote social equality. The government aims to expand the coverage of social benefits for low-income earners that includes a newborn allowance, 15-year free education, free lunch and milk for schoolchildren, universal healthcare, and a state welfare card as well as benefits for the disabled and senior citizens. The government will also provide soft loans and other financial aid to solve the debt problem of people in all groups in a sustainable manner. Also included in this plan is the “Ban Suk Pracha” project, which aims to build 100,000 houses in Bangkok and 10,000 houses in other provinces for low-income earners at a low rental rate of only THB999 per month.

Plan 2: Increase investment in infrastructure projects. Over the past six years, the government has promoted investment in infrastructure projects throughout the country and will continue to do so. Projects that are of high priority include sea, air, land and rail transportation, a national power grid (gas & electricity) and the establishment of an innovation and digital centre in the Eastern Economic Corridor. The government will also increase investment in economic corridors in the northern, northeastern, central and southern regions with focus on a creative economy, a bio-industry, a health and medical food industry, logistics and tourism.

Plan 3: Reduce greenhouse gas emissions to combat global warming and drive Thailand on the path to becoming a low-carbon society. The government has set a target of reaching peak carbon emissions in 2030 and then achieving net zero emissions in 2065, which will help reduce the risk of being banned by trade partners and help secure more free trade agreements in the future. This goal can be achieved through the promotion of electric vehicles and use of renewable energy in the industrial sector, among other measures.

Plan 4: Strengthen existing industries by using advanced technology and innovation. These industries include processed food and agricultural products, healthcare and medical services, logistics and innovative tourism such as medical and eco-friendly tourism. One of the measures to promote this goal is launching tourism sandbox programmes in selected provinces to attract foreign tourists despite the Covid-19 situation.

Plan 5: Promote new industries for the future, also known as the new S-curve industries, to improve Thailand’s competitive edge globally. The government will focus on promoting three new industries with high potential – digital manufacturing and services, smart electronics and electrical vehicles, and biochemistry and bioplastic. These industries will help prepare Thailand for a digital transformation and become one of the digital hubs in the region.

Plan 6: Strengthen SMEs – the backbone of the economy. With more than 3 million small and medium businesses registered in 2020, SMEs are responsible for 42 per cent of the country’s GDP and 82 per cent of total employment. The government will make sure SMEs are fully supported with maximised accessibility to capital and markets, and will ensure that more SMEs are considered for government contracts which have a combined valued of over THB1.3 trillion per year.

Plan 7: Improve government services. Government service is a key factor that helps facilitate business operations and attracts foreign investors. The government aims to propel Thailand into the group of top ten countries with the highest ease of doing business in 2022 by offering services that are fast, traceable and increase user satisfaction.

Published : July 01, 2021

By : THE NATION