Srettha vows to tackle corruption, introduce reforms at Customs Dept

MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2024

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin vowed to get rid of corruption in the Customs Department and introduce reforms so it can generate more revenue for the country.

In a pre-Songkran interview with reporters, Srettha said his government has a lot to accomplish, even after being in office for seven months, and overhauling the Customs Department was among them.

He noted that this department was one of the three tax-collecting agencies for the government, but it only provided 100 billion or just 3% of the yearly national revenue.

The premier added that it should have generated far more as it is in charge of overseeing imports and fighting contraband.

“A lot of lobbying takes place at the Customs Department, so it has to be developed to be a clean one,” Srettha said, adding that the Customs Department could do a lot more for Thai society.

“For instance, the department could prevent the smuggling of products that would affect small businesses,” he said.

For instance, he said, if the department were more efficient, it would be able to control the smuggling of electronic cigarettes that are being widely used by Thai youths.

Srettha added that his government still had a lot to do to boost crop prices, including rice, maize, tapioca, sugarcane and rubber, and find new markets to absorb the oversupply.

The premier plans to visit Africa soon, and believes Nigeria has the potential of becoming a big buyer of food from Thailand.

Nigeria is expected to become one of the nations with the highest GDP in 10 years.

Srettha also said that there is a lot of work left to be done in the tourism industry, adding that his government will try to boost arrivals by extending the visa exemption policy, speeding up the immigration clearance process and taking better care of foreigners. He also promised to crack down on unlicensed tour guides.

As for drug trafficking, he said his government has to work harder. He said that though the number of drug-related arrests in the fourth quarter of last year was quite high, he is confident that more arrests would be made this year.

As for the digital wallet scheme, Srettha vowed that the 10,000-baht handout would reach eligible recipients by the fourth quarter of this year.

He added that the digital wallet scheme will help revive the economy in provinces, as the recipients will have to spend their handouts in their own hometowns.

Srettha said the actual impact of the digital wallet scheme and other stimulus measures will be felt in the first or second quarter of 2025.