Parties rolling out the goodies

Economy March 19, 2019 01:00

By THE NATION

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A MINIMUM income guarantee scheme, restructuring of the tax system, increase in minimum wage, price guarantee for agricultural products and boost for industry were some of the many promises that major political parties outlined as part of their election manifestos on the economy at a seminar.



Speaking at the “Shaping the Thai Industry 2025” seminar organised by Federation of Thai Industries, Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva called for the lowering of the country’s logistics costs and the setting up of 12 metropolises nationwide for wealth redistribution.

He said a Democrat government would push reforms for green industry, with manufacturing of automobiles shifting to electric vehicles (EVs). The promotion of an EV production base is also on the election manifesto of Pheu Thai Party.

Abhisit promised to deal with the country’s debt problem, promote savings and bring in a tax system that would be fair with no corruption. 

The Democrat also promised an income guarantee scheme to help employees and employers. Under the proposed scheme, an employee must earn a minimum salary of Bt10,000 per month or Bt120,000 per year. An employee earning less than that would be eligible for an allowance from the government for the balance amount.

The Democrat leader promised that in the first 100 days of taking office, his government would boost people’s purchasing power to prop up the Thai economy through price guarantees for agricultural products, a minimum income of Bt120,000 per year for the workforce and an increase in the state welfare card amount to Bt800 per month for purchase at any shops.

Phalang Pracharat Party deputy leader Suvit Maesincee said that Thailand has been trapped in an income gap, which could be solved by boosting national competitiveness through the Thailand 4.0 policy.

If his party were to be in government, it would reform public-sector supervision and restructure the Thai tax system to make the private sector more competitive at the global level, he said.

About 5 million smart SMEs and 1 million smart farmers will be targeted as Thailand’s new economic army, with 30 favourable living cities nationwide, he said.

Biotechnology, renewable energy and the green economy would be boosted to make up 25 per cent of GDP, while the hiring of 20 million skilled and knowledge-based workers would help upgrade Thai manufacturing, he said. Phalang Pracharat Party proposes to gradually raise the minimum daily wage from Bt325 to Bt425 within three years, subject to each area’s economic conditions and capacity.

In the first 100 days after taking office, the party will focus on ensuring stability and peace so as to build confidence in the Thai economy, Suvit said.

Chairwoman of Pheu Thai Party’s election strategy committee Sudarat Keyuraphan said the party would improve the public administration system and crack down on corruption.

The party would engage in trade negotiations with other countries to mitigate risks from trade wars, find more export destinations and promote the relocation of manufacturing bases with technology transfer to Thailand, she said.

In the first 100 days, the party proposes to increase the purchasing power of the main groups such as farmers by raising agricultural prices without imposing a burden on the government, she said. For example, PTT Plc and the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand may purchase energy crops.

Non-EEC (Eastern Economic Corridor) manufacturing plants will also be promoted to enjoy the same privileges as those in the EEC, while SMEs will be assisted in debt restructuring, she said. Excise tax on fuel will be cut to help lower production costs and people’s cost of living.

Bhumjaithai Party leader Anutin Charnvirakul, while expressing confidence that his party would be invited to join the government, aims to promote production and reduce corruption. He vowed that instead of the EEC, industries would be promoted nationwide.

He said that in the first 100 days, he proposes to amend ministerial regulations that hinder trade and business while public spending will be prioritised and public agencies will use locally made products.

Anakot Mai Party or Future Forward Party representative Phicharn Chaowapatanawong said the party is proposing the hyperloop for faster travel instead of the high-speed rail. New industries such as electric bus and EV will be promoted for creation of about 400,000 jobs and these industries would be located in the Northeast, he said.

During the first 100 days, the party will ensure transparency with public disclosure on the website, while personal assets of politicians and high-level state officials will also be disclosed, he said, adding that it aims to reduce disparity by increasing state welfare for newborns and ageing people.