Yingluck vows to run a steady ship, will heed advice and criticism in 2013
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra expects economic growth of 4.5-5.5 per cent next year while the government is geared up to develop the economy as planned on expectation of annual expansion of 5 per cent.
The government is looking for new markets and free-trade deals to assist exporters while continuing the rice-pledging scheme, trying to control public debt, overseeing the fiscal stance and developing of agricultural zones to raise prices of farm products.
Yingluck said that in 2013, the government would focus on policy continuity and economic balance to lessen impacts from weakening exports and lower export dependency.
Stimulating the economy
Next year, the government would continue to stimulate the economy through infrastructure investment in water and transport systems, and raise the income of people and farmers.
“The country’s economy may need to change in some parts. Previously, about 70 per cent (of gross domestic product) depended on Thai exports and the remaining 30 per cent
on domestic consumption. Given the external uncertainties, export revenue has declined and the next task is to increase domestic spending,” she said.
Emphasis continues on exports, particularly from the integration of Asean, plus new markets for exports and free-trade negotiations with other countries. There could be political risks that affect the economy, but the government would try to keep the political environment peaceful, she said. That would need cooperation, discussion and participation from all to make decisions together.
In response to concerns on policy implementation that may affect the monetary and fiscal stance, Yingluck said the government would take proper action for policy implementation and be disciplined.
Public debt would be kept within a ceiling via efficient budget control. Small- and medium-sized enterprises’ capability would be boosted while competitiveness would be raised.
For the rice-pledging scheme, Yingluck said the government would continue the scheme, as it had solved farmers’ problems. With greater purchasing power, domestic consumption had increased.
Yingluck said the Ministry of Commerce has been assigned to receive comments and monitor the scheme.
“The Ministry of Commerce was assigned to review and inspect all of the scheme. The next thing is to upgrade agricultural products and calculate the rice-growing period to be in line with the seasons.
Next year, the government would continue other policies and follow up on existing ones across the country. Long-term sustainability was a focus, along with regional infrastructure links, water management, developing people and increasing farmers’ output.
The government would also extend its development programmes to help communities earn more income. OTOP development was included.
Yingluck urged all Thais to end all conflicts in order to move forward but admitted that she heeds her brother Thaksin’s opinion because, as a Thai, he had good wishes for the country.
Reflecting on her work over the past year, the PM admitted there were many hiccups when she started as the country was hit by a massive flood and the government spent six months tackling flood-related problems. “I am not perfect but I give my heart 100 per cent to serve the people. I need time to prove my leadership because I am new and many people do not know me.”
I will improve: PM
The PM said she saw her first year in the top job as a time to adjust. “I will heed advice and criticism to improve myself and the government’s policies. As for criticism levelled against my personal issues, I am not disheartened as I realise that it is normal for politics.”
Asked if she could overlook Thaksin, Yingluck said: “He is one Thai who has good wishes for
the country and the government should listen to every voice of the people. [But] If I work only for one person and not for the whole country, people will not vote me back to office,’’ she said.