Held by Thansettakij and Bangkokbiznews on Wednesday, the forum featured experts in the economic, business and investment fields such as former commerce minister Dr Thanong Bidaya, and former finance ministers Korn Chakitavanij and Dr Uttama Savanayana.
The forum, "Dealing with War and the Economic Crisis", also featured Thai Business Council chairman Sanan Angubolkul, Board of Trade chief Kriengkrai Thiennukul, Thai-Russian Business Council chair Payong Srivanich, who is also vice-chair of the Federation of Thai Industries, and president of the Thai Bankers' Association Paiboon Nalinthrangkun. The meeting was compered by editors Bakban Boonlert and Weerasak Pongaksorn.
During the discussion, the participants expressed their opinions on how the Thai economy, already struggling from the Covid-19 pandemic, has been dealt another blow – the energy crisis sparked by the war. This latest crisis has left Thailand dealing with the highest inflation in 13 years.
The government’s measures to mitigate the effects, such as its co-paying Khon La Krueng subsidy and Rao Tiew Duay Kan tourism packages, have done little to make up for the loss of income over the past two years. The experts reckoned people’s income would drop further due to the prolonged war. The three ministers, meanwhile, proposed the use of the Loan Act, though each offered a different suggestion on how it can be used.
Former commerce minister Thanong advised Thailand to start working on boosting its competitive advantage by seeking new investment in special economic zones or potential start-ups. The aim, Thanong said, should be to create jobs for low-income earners, and for this, the government needs to come up with a clear, long-term strategy.
Former finance minister Korn agreed, saying the government should lay out a clear-cut strategy for implementing the Loan Act. He also urged the government to focus on healing and rehabilitating small- and medium-enterprises so they can conduct business in the "new normal".
Uttama, meanwhile, pointed out that economic problems would remain even after the Russia-Ukraine war ends. For Thailand to survive the crisis, he said, the government should have a short- and long-term plan for the implementation of the Loan Act. He added that the authorities should also ensure that the Loan Act is used based on the plan, so money is not wasted. As for seeking investments in special economic zones such as the Eastern Economic Corridor, he said, the government should ensure investors have confidence in the national strategy and progress of the EEC.
Published : March 25, 2022