PM Srettha lays out visionary policies during Thairath forum
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin presented a wide range of government policies and explained their impact on the economy and society at the “Thairath Forum 2023”.
The Thai-language daily held the forum under the theme “Future Perfect and New Perspectives” on Monday at its headquarters in Bangkok.
Also present were members of Srettha’s Cabinet, including foreign, labour, digital economy and society, and culture ministers along with the deputy finance minister.
In the discussion, Srettha explained his working style, saying he needed to adapt to a larger government structure after transitioning from the private sector. He highlighted the importance of addressing people’s concerns promptly and taking action on critical issues such as reducing the price of diesel and electricity. Negotiations are underway to further reduce electricity costs for the general public.
He also spoke about the possibility of offering free visas to Indian tourists, though said complexities in visa applications and limited incoming flights from India have delayed the policy’s approval.
The government plans to engage in high-level discussions with Indian authorities by the end of the year, Srettha said, adding that Indian tourists’ high-spending habits should be encouraged. Thailand is a popular destination for Indian weddings.
The premier also discussed economic policies, with a focus on expediting actions wherever possible, such as debt repayment delays for farmers.
The government is considering long-term policies, especially those that impact the public directly, like the 10,000 baht digital wallet scheme. The government aims to take clear action on the scheme by February so it can help boost market liquidity, production and job opportunities, and ultimately improve the country’s GDP.
Srettha also said minimum wage policy adjustments are also under consideration, with details like the duration and exact increase still being finalised. The minimum wage rate is expected to be increased to 400 baht per day by year-end and should improve business and industrial market access, he said.
As for the 20-baht flat fare policy for public transportation, Srettha said that though it is challenging, it will be pursued immediately. He hopes it will be in place within three months.
Another topic on the agenda was drought management. He said his government plans to encourage the cultivation of water-efficient crops and effective water management, especially in the Northeast. He said efficient water management may require canal and reservoir dredging, which could involve collaboration with the military.
As for addressing income inequality, the PM stressed transparent resource allocation and wise use of state resources. Srettha said he knows his actions are being closely observed and is committed to avoiding favouritism. He said his aim is to work closely with civil servants and ensure all policies are implemented efficiently.
On international relations, Srettha said Thailand’s neutrality is important, especially when it comes to the US-China conflict. He said clarity of Thailand’s stand at global summits is necessary to ensure there are no negative implications.
As for US President Joe Biden not stopping off in Thailand during his recent regional tour, Srettha said there is no point in dwelling on the past. Instead, he said, his aim is to focus on the present and future international missions, including discussions with world leaders and attracting more investors to Thailand.
He highlighted Thailand’s global agricultural potential, rich culture and software abilities that can expand into international markets.
The discussion wrapped up with a focus on adapting to the changing landscape and addressing public needs and concerns.