“Motivated by an insatiable push for advancement, the government eyes an ambitious target of a 5% per annum surge in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP)” stated an authoritative figure during his visit to the Northeast, specifically in the Khon Kaen province.
Regrettably, as per the second quarter data unveiled by the National Economic and Social Development Council, the vision seems to teeter at an unsure 1.8% for Thailand’s GDP growth. This is a worrying fall from a considerably healthier 2.6% start in the first quarter, with the second quarter underperforming by not hitting the median forecast of 3.1%.
The multi-tasking Srettha, who immaculately combines finance ministerial roles with his government brief, decisively puts to bed any chances of introducing a rice-pledging or price-guarantee scheme previously employed by predecessors. He goes on record, stating, “only under force majeure, like a natural disaster, will such an enactment take place”.
Srettha firmly against subsidy schemes perceives them as “disruptive to world market prices,” and believe they are not justifiable within financial and monetary principles. He adds, “we have a steadfast focus of empowering farmers to increase their net income. The implementation of immediate income, vitality production, and cost reduction will push the farmer’s net revenue up. Price-guarantee or rice-pledging measures are not the prerequisite as they obstruct global market prices. Similar principles apply to other farm produce.”
The financial stumbling block affecting farmers, their debt moratorium, is another issue being eyed for renovation by the government. Srettha pointed out that a staggering 13 debt moratoriums over the past near-decade were put in place, albeit with no tangible income growth. He continued, “we need to look beyond these moratoriums and introduce other viable measures to help farmers cut their costs and educate them about income increments.”
Geographically dispositioned towards drought, Srettha envisages a long-term relief, one commissioned by his government – a massive pipeline transporting water from four northeastern rivers to the local Ubol Ratana Dam. “It is crucial to understand we cannot always seek a short-term resolution to this recurring issue, we anticipate a long-term solution to aid the drought problem over time.”
While Srettha concluded his Khon Kaen tour ops, the neighboring Udon Thani province was next on his itinerary, where he visited the International Horticultural Expo 2026 site; Nong Dae Park. The event, projected for November 2026 to March 2027, asked for an additional 3 billion baht on top of already committed 2.5 billion, pushing the cost to a staggering 5.5 billion. Concerned at the absurdity of the replenishment, Srettha raises questions like, “how did the budget increase exponentially? Where is the government supposed to source this massive financial commitment?”
Moving towards the culmination of the Northeast journey, Srettha visited the Nong Khai province sat against the scenic Laos border. Along with Deputy PM and Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai and other dignitaries, they had a meaningful conversation about the prospect of Thai goods transportation to China by train. The trip got more interesting with Nirut Maneephan, State Railway of Thailand governor pointing out to the eminent delegation about double train tracks extending to Nong Khai. This transport revolution will undoubtedly create a new wave of opportunities for Thailand and China, allowing Laos to become an industrial hub.
The Nong Khai visit ended on a high, with Srettha inspecting a development site for a planned one-stop goods distribution center, adjacent to Natha train station. Covering an impressive 193 rai (31 hectares), the projected 5.4 billion baht investment serves as a testament to the ambitious and zestful strides being made for the future.