Chart Thai Pattana vows to make cooperatives engines for grassroots development
The Chart Thai Pattana Party has pledged to reduce the income gap in Thailand by upgrading cooperatives to grassroots financial institutions if it wins power in the May 14 general election.
The pre-poll promise was made by the coalition party at the annual general assembly of cooperatives in Bangkok’s area 2, held at the Federation of Savings and Credit Cooperatives of Thailand in Nonthaburi.
Chart Thai Pattana leader Varawut Silpa-archa told the assembly that cooperatives, which have over 10 million members nationwide, are crucial for steering social and national development. Varawut, who is also minister for natural resources and the environment, vowed to integrate proposals made at the assembly into the party’s national development policies.
Chatchai Payuhanaveechai, a member of Chart Thai Pattana’s economic team member, told the assembly that the country’s 6,000-plus savings and credit cooperatives were a pillar of the party’s policy to reduce inequality in Thai society.
Chatchai said cooperatives comprise members from all walks of life, so they understood the needs of grassroots people.
He noted that cooperatives had been part of Thai society for over a century after being introduced in 1915.
“They have accumulated funds of 3.3 trillion baht, which can be used to drive economic and social development that yield benefits for the people and the country,” he added.
Chart Thai Pattana would push to upgrade cooperatives to institutions, expanding their operations beyond savings, trade or fisheries so that they help steer the economy in all aspects.
He said cooperatives should also become investors in development, for example by funding and supervising local tourism.