GOVERNMENT ministers have vowed to make the digital economy become a reality in Thailand this year by accelerating changes to the legal and regulatory framework and the roll out of high-speed Internet services to all parts of the country.
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak yesterday promised that the government would transform the Thai economy into one integrated into the digital economic landscape, with the advances driven by information technology (IT) and the blanket high-speed Internet coverage.
The government would make the required changes to laws and regulations in order to facilitate this economic transformation, Somkid said in the keynote speech at a seminar hosted by the Economic Reporters Association that was also attended by other economic ministers.
Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam would look into the law amendments and work closely with the State Council, the government's legal advisory body. Economic ministers have been asked to come up with new measures to push forward the goal of achieving a digital economy, Somid said.
Investors and consumers had gained more confidence in the economy as the country’s gross domestic product last year was expected to grow more than 4 per cent. Momentum in the economy s is reflected in the rising stock indices this year, he said.
The Minister of Digital Economy and Society, Pichet Durongkaveroj, said at the same forum that law amendments would focus on the protection of individuals’ rights, electronic businesses and electronics payments system – the latter is being handled under the supervision of the Finance Ministry.
Investment in IT infrastructure will help the bottom 20 per cent of the population that live in remote areas to access Internet services this year. The ministry aims to train one million community leaders in the use of this technology. This would help villagers with small enterprises to reach a broader market via online channels.
The ministry has also consulted with Internet operators to provide Wi-Fi services at speeds of 30 megabits per second for Bt 349 per month, according to Pichet.
In addition, the ministry has been developing a cyber security system by training those with hacking skills to prevent or counter cyber attacks, he added.
The Minister of Industry, Uttama Savanayana, said the ministry would support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to take advantage of information technology to create digital assets. The government would support them in these efforts through financial measures and training programmes, he said.
The ministry has sought the cooperation of large corporations, dubbed the “25 Big Brothers”, to provide such assistance to SMEs, he said.
“It would take about 10 years to completely transform the country into a digital economy landscape where economic growth is sustainable,” Uttama said.