Thailand’s economic development roadmap,

eturbonews Oct 16, 2010

The Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva delivered a keynote address to the audience attending the 50 years Thai Airways celebration at the Shangri La Hotel in Bangkok on Friday.

He said:"It is an honored to congratulate Thai airways for its 50th celebration. Its job is not only to bring passenger from one place to another but it demonstrates Thainess. Customer experiences it on the first step on the aircraft. THAI Staff helps to create good image for the country, culture, and customer.

Look beyond current environment where global economic just recover from severe finance and economic crisis, Thailand is on the way to recovery and drafting national development plan. Thailand needs to set clear goal and target as to where it wants to go. Thailand reflects strong fundamental on the economic. It is able to deal with crisis and vulnerable from global economy.

Tourism sector is also begun to recover. It is expected to have more than 50 million tourists in Thailand.

Some thoughts: key lesson about past success and challenges on previous crisis.

There are 4 key factors that need to be focused as follows:

Success of economic development tied to open economy. Despite global economy crisis, there is no way that Thai could make progress if we close our self to global economy and international trade. Strong recovery over last year was due to export growth of 20-30% and it was a direct result of the fact. We seek further on liberalization to free trade agreement.

Success driven by private sector – it allows dynamism of entrepreneurship of people to function. Government need to encourage right environment, incentive, and regulation, and make sure trade and regulation is free and fair. It will need an ongoing process to tap into this great potential.

Ability to go through crisis and diversity in economy -production sector, agricultural sector and service sector are the fundamental strength for development. We have surplus resource and abandon resources in agriculture to deal with the problem of food security. We have strong base in key industry like automobile and electronic. Moreover, service sector has enabled us to have strong tourism.

Governance transparency and participation of stakeholders will be the key to deal with problems in the market economy. One clear example that has proven this concept is the remarkable turnaround of Thai Airways in a few years ago. We are now looking at possibility of making substantial profit.

Government is aiming to take Thai economy to the next stage with 3 targets: take full advantage of an increase of global integrationstrong domestic economy, and fair economy.

Actions to achieve these goals are as follows:

Asia and Southeast Asia will provide economic growth at the global economic. It is clear that center of gravity of anomic is shifting to this region. Thailand needs to be a very active player in economic integration and regional economic architecture. This can be done on different measures such as virtual network and greater competition. We have to tackle basic issues and factors affecting competiveness by encouraging investment of our people. Government believes that knowledge is important so we want to focus on quality of education, life-long learning and well integrated to economic and social structure. We need to upgrade and make key investment to infrastructure such as road infrastructure and water resources. This will help to improve our competitiveness to take advantage of economic integration. For tourism sector, government has to set clear priority on development of southern region – tourism and green economy must come before anything.

Stronger domestic economy – increase income and security of people. If the global slip to recession, we have minimum economic standard to ensure continuation of economic transaction. We have income guarantee for majority of people. In agricultural sector, they enjoy a certain security knowing that they will not making a loss if they grow crops. There will be more initiatives to deal with informal sector or untapped sector. This will help balance some of the problems that economic is over reliance on export.

Fair economic – tax reform, land tax, and wealth tax should be put forward to parliament next year. Equal distribution of resources like land and housing initiative, which will help deal with people who are landless. Government listens to all stakeholders and to all people who are affected by economic development. This is essential for sustainability of economic, social, and politic development. 
In order to obtain these 3 goals, governance should be a center. We need to uphold rule of laws, transparency and accountability. This roadmap will not be as smooth as silk. There will be some challenges. With the political will and determination, these goals are certainly achievable."

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