Economic war room may be set up in first economic ministers’ meeting

SUNDAY, MAY 26, 2024

‘War room’ to monitor key data likely on agenda for first economic ministers’ council meeting Monday, source says

An economic war room to monitor key economic data on a weekly basis may be set up during the first meeting of the economic ministers’ council on Monday, a well-informed source said Sunday.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has revived the system of holding weekly meetings of economic ministers before the weekly Cabinet meeting, and the first is scheduled for Monday.

A source from Government House said the establishment of an economic war room would be proposed during the first meeting of the economic ministers’ council.

The source said the war room would be in charge of monitoring and analysing key economic data on a weekly basis.

These would include export data of eight main industries in both quantities and value of exports, data on the use of industrial manufacturing capacity, and data on budget disbursement, according to the source.

The war room would also monitor the figures on corporate tax and VAT (value-added tax) collections, the source said.

During the first meeting, Srettha and his economic ministers would also discuss the relaxing of rules for approving loans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and measures for easing household debt, the source added.

Meanwhile, Pichai Naripthaphan, an adviser to the prime minister, said the first economic ministers’ meeting would discuss measures to stimulate economic growth to exceed the 2.5% predicted by the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council.

He said Srettha would also summon representatives from key government agencies to the meeting.

“Now, we must find measures to drive for as much economic expansion as possible during the remaining time of the year,” Pichai said.

“If nothing is done, growth may be less than 2.5%.”
Budget Bureau director Chalermpol Pensoot said speedy budget disbursements would play a crucial role in driving economic expansion.

He said government agencies would be encouraged to disburse the budget as soon as possible, especially the budget for fiscal 2024, which ends on September 30, and the investment budget.

So far, the disbursement of the fiscal 2024 budget has reached 61%, which is good progress, he added.

Chalermpol said he expects the fiscal 2025 budget bill to be enacted in time for the start of the new fiscal year on October 1, 2024.