Saturday, June 12, 2021


The blueprint for all or for only some? 

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Crafting a 20-year national strategy plan is essential for Thailand.



To accomplish this, we need to know (1) where we are, (2) where we want to be in 20 years, and (3) how to get there. The junta government has accordingly picked the likes of former Transport minister Chadchatt Sittipunt, Thaibev owner’s eldest son Thapana Sirivadhanabhakdi, and former AIS executiveSomprasong Boonyachai as committee members to help in its efforts.
While I agree with having a national blueprint, I have a few concerns.
1. Will those picked into various categories in the blueprint be fully heard, and their expertise fully tapped on? Substance is far more important than appearance.
2. The real engine of growth in Thailand’s economy is small and medium-sized enterprises. They are the champions in boosting our gross domestic product as well as making society more equitable and decentralised, not big businesses. This must be explicitly addressed in the blueprint.
3. Since it is a national strategy with everyone’s interest at stake, should we not reach a consensus on where we want to be and how to get there? It defeats the purpose having a plan if it won’t be carried out.
4. Will successive governments (elected or otherwise) be required to follow through this national strategy? What will be their incentives to carry the plan through?
5. We need to be realistic. Are we, as a nation, disciplined and prudent enough, to see the plan executed to its fruition? Our relative strengths and weaknesses, the capabilities of our human labour and the resources available must be honestly considered. We won’t be able to build a spacecraft and land a Thai on Mars within 20 years. But we can make Thai kick-boxing the world’s sport in that time.
As a case for comparison, Singapore has always committed itself to national strategies. One of them was iN2015 – a 10-year master plan published in 2006 to make Singapore “an intelligent nation, a global city, powered by Infocomm”. Indeed in 2006 Singapore’s GDP per capita was approximately US$33,000. By 2016, it increased to $54,000, a 63-per-cent increase within 10 years, making it top 10 highest earners in the world then.
Can we accomplish half of what Singapore achieved within 20 years? Only time will tell, aided by a visionary leader with competent team, and a population devoted to that vision. 
Edward Kitlertsirivatana

Published : October 01, 2017