August 15, 2014 01:00 By Nakarin Srilert
ECONOMIC GROWTH during the remainder of the year will depend mainly on export expansion and accelerated state spending, according to the National Economic and Social Development Board.
To this end, the military’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) will propose to the new appointed government a wide-reaching development plan drawn up by the NESDB, including industrial clusters.
NESDB secretary-general Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said that if export growth got more robust than it was in June, gross domestic product would expand as targeted. In June, exports expanded 3.9 per cent year on year.
In the current half of 2014, Thailand is facing risks from the worse-than-expected improvement in the global economy. Recently, the International Monetary Fund lowered its estimate for this year’s global economic growth, and this could affect Thai exports.
In the current half, Thailand will depend on disbursement of the 2015 state budget, and NCPO chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha has urged state agencies to accelerate their budget disbursement for the first three months of fiscal 2015.
“Thai export growth, which has been at lower-than-expected levels in the past two to three years, needs to be [revived] urgently, and this will be proposed to the government,” Arkhom said.
Establishment of special economic zones also needs to be accelerated, given the approach of the Asean Economic Community next year. The SEZs are expected to boost border trade by 20 per cent, he said.
He said Prayuth had assigned the NESDB to gather information on economic measures and proposed policies. His NCPO will propose to the new government that these policies be linked to the 12th and 13th National Economic and Social Development Plans.
Arkhom said the plan would be a long-term road map, similar to the NCPO’s 2027 national vision.
One part of the plan is to develop transport infrastructure to upgrade logistics and lower costs.
While regulations need to be improved and obstacles need to be removed for business operations, the quality of human resources will be developed.
Research and development, education and innovation will be promoted, and manufacturing and services will be developed in the form of clustering of operators, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, for product development and marketing.
The NESDB has proposed that the NCPO establish a “national committee on competitive advantage”, which could be chaired by the junta head or the prime minister, by November.
This committee would push for development of industrial clusters. Some clusters such as those involved in automobiles and auto parts and palm oil, if they are as successful as the NESDB hopes, could become prototypes for other industries.
“Clustering, particularly among SMEs, is what we need to see, and this will strengthen them. It’s collaboration for standardised products with research and development,” Arkhom said.