THE COUNTRY'S leading industrialists yesterday voiced support for the reform initiative of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) and said they were ready to help with the effort to rebuild confidence among foreign business communities.
Supant Mongkolsuthree, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), told The Nation that confidence had started to return to international communities after the NCPO tried to push forward the state budget and payments owed to farmers under the rice-pledging scheme.
Foreign communities are gradually coming to understand the situation, he claimed. “Fortunately, there has been no violence [since the coup]. Things have almost returned to normal, as the curfew hours have been shortened and investors are coming back to invest in the stock market.” However, there remain concerns, as there is no exact time frame for completion of the reform road map or when a new election can be held. Supant said that the reform draft should be completed within six months.
“Then the election can follow, depending on the timing and on the interim government’s ability to restore confidence.”
He said major reforms would be positive for Thailand though the country would have to struggle at the beginning. Corruption should be a major focus, as it is a significant cause of current problems.
Supant said the Thai private sector should take a leading role in restoring the confidence of the foreign business communities, especially in the country’s manufacturing capability and on-time delivery of goods.
He said the internal conflict at the FTI was over. The federation had been getting strong support from its members, especially from its provincial network.
FTI vice chairman Vallop Vitanakorn said the public sector should not go it alone in restoring the confidence of foreign governments, investors and business communities, but with the cooperation with private sector.
“We in the private sector will talk to our members and foreign clients in an effort to enhance confidence in Thailand. They will also further promote confidence in their own trade communities, associations, and the public sector,” he said.
Vallop said the FTI planned to set up an agricultural-industry institution in partnership with the National Farmers Council to promote the agricultural-goods processing industry. The new institution will help the industry move from concentrating on OEM (original equipment manufacturing) towards value-added processing and brand building.
Supant and other FTI executives met with executives of the Nation Multimedia Group yesterday and both agreed that cooperation was necessary to restore business confidence and to inform foreign communities that Thailand is getting back to normal business life.
FTI urged the NCPO to set up a joint public-private committee for brainstorming ideas on restoring confidence and moving the country forward. The FTI would conduct a seminar and invite foreign traders to show them Thailand is ready to produce and export goods on schedule.