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New Economic Centre Convenes First Meeting

Published: August 16, 2020 at 1:36 pm

Economic Center of Thailand

The new economic centre that will be in charge of overseeing Thailand’s economic management and revitalization has convened its first meeting today, August 15.

The new centre, which has been named the Centre for Economic Situation Administration, will operate in the same tier of government as the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration. 

Headed by the Prime Minister himself, Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, it will be in charge of discussing economic measures and policies geared towards economic recovery from the pandemic.

The first meeting was convened at the Government House. As part of the agenda, the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce Industry and Banking is expected to propose stimulus measures to boost domestic spending and revive the economy.

According to Kalin Sarasin, the chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, the JSCCIB will fspecifically propose advertising wellness tourism – which will target medical tourists – as well as tax assistance for businesses impacted by COVID-19, opportunities for small and medium enterprises, and high value farm products.

In the future, the JSCCIB will also draft a comprehensive recovery plan. This plan will be created in cooperation with the Thai Tourism Council, the Thai National Shippers’ Council and the Federation of Thai Capital Market Organizations.

It will also discuss Thailand’s role as a regional hub for trade and investment, and how this role will be impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Also, Mr. Kalin said that the Economic Centre has the full support of the private sector, which expected the new government body to find ways to help small and medium enterprises get more assistance to keep their businesses afloat amidst the pandemic.

In addition to soft loans, Mr. Kalin said, the private sector is hoping that the Centre can make accessible for them knowledge and marketing channels.

The tourism industry needs more aggressive marketing in order to attract more local tourists and, in the future, foreign visitors to Thailand.

Prime Minister Prayut had said last week that the government will be doing more aggressive promotional campaigns in order to reach at least 2 million and up to 10 million foreign tourists as early as the end of the year.

For now, the Prime Minister said, there are already bookings for 200,000 tourists in hotels across Thailand. This, however, is not enough and needs to be grown significantly.

Experts in the financial industry are urging the government to make available more financial assistance to SMEs, noting that banks and large financial institutions are hesitant to extend loans to SMEs as well as startups because of the uncertainty brought about by the pandemic.

Members of the private sector are also urging the government to ensure that financial institutions provide breathing space to ailing businesses by relaxing their repayment and installment schedules.

Prime Minister Prayut said last week in a speech that Thailand needs to find ways to reduce its reliance on foreign tourism and exports given the global situation. 

Foreign tourism contributes a significant portion of the country’s annual GDP. While there have been measures to ease the lockdown and prepare certain areas to receive foreign tourists, there has been no confirmed date on when the borders will actually reopen to international air travel.



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