Building a sustainable economy for Thailand is not just a necessity, but a responsibility every citizen shares. These were the strong words echoed by Srettha at the well-attended ceremony that unfolded on Sunday at the BITEC Convention Centre, located in the heart of bustling Bangkok.
Srettha expressed his optimism about the prospects of the Thai economy, especially in the post-election phase. However, he emphasized that collective responsibility and coordinated action are crucial to its further enhancement.
Amid varied opinions about the much-debated digital wallet scheme, Srettha held firm to his belief that the 10,000-baht digital handout remains a decisive factor in tackling the current crisis.
Drawing comparisons with the GDP of ASEAN nations such as Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, he presented a stark picture of economic disparity, as these countries’ growth figures outperformed Thailand’s modest 2% growth in the past nine years.
However, in the face of these challenges, Srettha demonstrated unwavering confidence in Thailand’s economic potential. He also pointed out that numerous initiatives aimed at reinvigorating the economy have been introduced by the government over the past two months. These included measures like deferment of farmers’ debts, reducing electricity and oil prices, and endorsement of free visas to stimulate the tourism sector.
Highlighting Thailand’s appeal as an investment hub, Srettha stressed upon the urgency of aligning supportive measures such as tax incentives, free trade agreements and strategic negotiations, to capitalize on this potential.
The focus on tourism development he noted, involved greater investment in secondary cities with new airports coming into the fold, in order to broaden the reach of the transportation sector.
Addressing the nationwide issue of household debts, Srettha highlighted that discussions were underway to devise comprehensive guidelines for negotiations involving district officers, debtors and creditors. He also expressed his intent to urgently address predatory lending practices that impose unjustifiably high-interest rates, stating that measures to curb will be introduced soon.
Similarly, clear action plans are to be unveiled in the near future, to counter systemic debts. He acknowledged the struggling farm sector and assured that plans to rejuvenate it by expanding export markets to bolster farmer incomes are in progress.
In an attempt to underscore his commitment to promote trade and investment, Srettha warmly welcomed the moniker some people had assigned him – the nation’s salesman. “I am indeed helping to promote and sell our country’s trade and investment potential, all for the Thai people,” he said. This statement signifies his relentless pursuit in ensuring the prosperity of the nation.
As the prime minister is set to attend the 26th ASEAN-Japan Summit in mid-December, Srettha expressed his appreciation for Japan’s role in trade and investments within Thailand. Over the past 50 years, Japan has carved out the most extensive production base in the country, and Srettha sees this as an opportunity to display Thailand’s commitment to fostering investments by facilitating free visas for Japanese businessmen.
Finally, he extended an invitation to business leaders to accompany him on his overseas trips, emphasizing the importance of collaboration in promoting trade and investment, thereby augmenting the nation’s prospects.