ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Finance minister vows competition
Thirachai Phuvanatnaranubala, the finance minister, said yesterday that reconciliation and political stability are among the priorities of the Pheu Thai-led government.
Mr Thirachai, a former secretary-general of the Securities and Exchange Commission, said fiscal and monetary policies would be coordinated to ensure economic stability.
"The government will maintain fiscal discipline. But in the short term, we have to accept that expenses will be higher than income," the minister told the Thailand Competitiveness Conference 2011, co-hosted by the Thailand Management Association (TMA).
"We want strong financial institutions that can compete fairly," he said.
Mr. Thirachai affirmed that the government would act as a facilitator for the private sector and continue to invest in public infrastructure, including railways connecting different parts of Thailand and other countries in the region, to lower logistics costs.
As well, he said the Yingluck Shinawatra administration would appoint a committee to address the corruption that has the business sector so worried.
Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, the secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Board, said Thailand has barely improved in terms of competitiveness, moving from 28th place in 2003 to 27th this year in the world ranking of the International Institute for Management Development (IMD).
Significant weaknesses include infrastructure, human capital and research and development. "We have seen investments falling considerably, now standing at 18-19 percent of gross domestic product compared with 40 percent in the past," Mr. Arkhom said.
Low investment means the country has little chance to generate more income in the future. Thus the private sector has roles to play in boosting investments in the areas of water, medicine and sport, he said.
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