Finance chief moved to NESDB to shepherd 20-year govt plan
THE Cabinet has approved the transfer of Somchai Sajjapongse, the Finance Ministry permanent secretary, to the post of secretary-general at the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) to take charge of the country’s 20-year strategic development blueprint.
An informed source said that Somchai tendered his resignation after receiving the transfer order.
Porametee Vimolsiri, the outgoing chief of NESDB, has been moved to the post of permanent secretary at the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security. Government House sources said Somchai was preferred by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to help speed up the national planning agency’s task on formulating the new national development agenda as envisaged by the government.
At the Finance Ministry, the crucial post of permanent secretary is likely to be filled by Prasong Poontaneat, the incumbent director-general of the Revenue Department, according to sources.
All these crucial top-level bureaucratic changes have followed the dismissal of Puttipat Lertchaowasit from the post of permanent secretary at the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security due to charges of alleged corruption.
Sources said Somchai was moved to the NESDB after the top post at the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security became vacant.
An informed source said that Somchai tendered his resignation at the Finance Ministry after receiving the transfer order.
In addition, the Ministry needs to rotate senior officials as Prasong Poontaneat, the Revenue Department director-general, has already been in his current post for four years and has a good chance to be the new permanent secretary at the Finance Ministry.
Finance Minister Apisak Tantiworawong said he had not made the final decision on the new permanent secretary but would name a suitable replacement.
Meanwhile, Finance Ministry sources said the chief of the Customs Department is expected to head the Revenue Department, the most important agency in terms of tax revenue collection, if the latter post becomes vacant. Apisak said Kobsak Pootrakool, the PM’s Office minister, had sought the transfer of Somchai from the Finance Ministry to the NESDB to take charge of the 20-year national strategic plan due to Somchai’s impressive track record at the Finance Ministry.
According to Apisak, the NESDB role covers all crucial aspects of national development, including reform measures, economic growth, education and national security, so it needs a highly competent person.
The finance minister said Somchai had no problem working at the ministry, while he also worked well with the economic management team headed by deputy premier Somkid Jatusripitak.