National Broadcast by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, March 25, 2016
Good evening, dear Thai citizens.
Today, I would like to inform you about some successful collaborative efforts under the “Pracharat” approach to inclusive multi-sector cooperation, such as the “Rak Nam” project, which is launched under cooperation between Utokapat Foundation, the Forest and Sea for Life Foundation, the Hydro and Agro Informatics Institute, the Population and Community Development Association, the Department of Local Administration, and Coca-Cola Thailand. This project reflects private sector commitment towards corporate social responsibility, by giving support to the government and the people in the form of development programs, including:
1) preservation and rehabilitation water resources, such as growing vetiver grass to prevent soil erosion and building a community forest where people and nature can co-exist,
2) water resources management through the promotion of sciences and technologies while working with local experts in the construction of check dams and water retention areas. In addition, we will build an ecosystem learning centre and an environmental protection network, while aiming to reduce the use of water by up to 28% and monitor all waste water released from factories. All waste water must be properly treated, making sure that all life forms are unharmed.
If everyone cooperates, our country will be able to get through the ongoing drought crisis, as well as future water scarcity dilemmas. The “Rak Water” under the Pracharat approach aims to strengthen communities, especially agricultural communities. The project will allow farmers to stand on their own feet and improve their living standards. Thus, they will not have to travel to large cities in order to find jobs. Children will be able to grow up to be potential local workers who have the will to develop and contribute to their home towns. All this can be done through cooperation among 70 million people in Thailand.
This past week, I paid a visit to the north eastern region to follow up on several projects launched under government’s policies such as the “One Tambon, One Million Baht” programme, which helps to alleviate the impact of the dry season.
There is a successful case I wish to share with you. It is the sluice gate construction and Nong Mak Canal project in Udon Thani. The locals have shown their capability to effectively manage water sources, thus reducing the risk of water scarcity in 5 agricultural villages housing 190 families. More than 3,000 rai of farmland is being used for cattle ranching, fish farming, and vegetable farming. Moreover, the project allows the locals to store more than 5 million cubic meters of water in the reservoir that they constructed, which runs one kilometre long through agricultural zones in the province. Not only does it store water, the reservoir also helps to prevent flooding. This is a good example of a Pracharat project.
As for cooperation in the upper level in the Pracharat model, joint committees under central and regional administrations in the northern provinces namely Udon Thani, Loei, Nong Khai, Bueng Kan and Nong Bua Lamphu have convened to follow up on the drought situation and water management. They have also discussed the well-being of low-income earners and ways to encourage small investments. They have also gathered input from the private sector on the development of local economy, and the government, therefore, will strive to ensure sustainable growth from upstream to downstream, connecting 18 northern provinces and sharpening the region’s strengths, especially its geographical indication (GI) products. With a history to explain their uniqueness, regional products should be much more attractive.
During my visit to the People’s Republic of China to attend the first Lancang Mekong Cooperation Leaders Meeting and the Boao Forum for Asia between March 22nd and March 24th, I met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. We discussed a wide range of bilateral cooperation issues especially on the high-speed rail project. The conclusion is that Thailand will be the sole proprietor and will oversee every step of the project. We have the potential to achieve this project by ourselves.
The first phase of the high-speed rail project will be a 250-kilometre track linking Bangkok and Nakhon Ratchasima. We will hire China to build trains for us. We will focus on services and other conveniences we will provide to our people. I can assure you that our commitment is to initiate the reform of the country’s transport and logistics system, paving the way for future development.
Once we have acquired the knowledge and the expertise in terms of rail technology, rail management, and other necessary skills, Thailand will be able to develop further. Importantly the Thai people will be more confident in the country’s capabilities, and we will then be able to construct more routes, bring different regions and areas closer together, such as tourist destinations, special economic zones, sea ports, and our large cities. We will also be able to look beyond Thailand and connect ourselves with neighbouring countries and other nations in Asia. Once we take the first step, next steps will follow. But if nothing is done now, we will be a step behind other nations. Rest assured I will do the best I can to protect the interests of the people and the country. I will deliberately look through every detail, because such projects are national assets for the people, and especially the next generations.
I expect the project be initiated this July, and we have thoroughly conducted studies on the construction. I would like the public to take note of the information provided by the government on this project, so that there will be no misunderstandings or misleading versions of the situation. Our country is moving forward and making progress now, and we should stand together on this.
In terms of public administration by the government and the NCPO based on comprehensive reforms and sustainability , we have focused on the following:
The Pracharat housing project is meant to reduce social gaps and uplift the well-being of low and middle income earners, civil servants, people with unstable income, and those who have never owned a house. The project grants mortgage loans of no higher than 1.5 million baht to each case.
The Government Housing Bank and the Government Savings Bank will issue a total of 40 billion baht worth of housing loans, with an instalment term of no longer than 30 years.
In addition, a total of 30 billion baht will be loaned to those wishing to renovate their homes. This loan comes with a 2-year installment period. This project will be joined by real estate firms and the National Housing Authority, with a hope of stimulating the country’s economy.
We also ask the private sector and real estate companies taking part in the program to shoulder transfer taxes and fees by 2% of the total price. They will also be required to shoulder the registration fee which is about 1 percent of the mortgage value for two years, as well as the burden on utility fees for up to one year. This program was started on March 23rd.
This project is an implementation of the 10-year residence development plan (2016-2025) and is meant for low-income families numbering 2.7 million out of a total 4.6 million households. This program ensures that low-income people have better opportunities and access to public services, which is in line with our goals to genuinely enhance social equality and social justice.
In 2016, projects within the National Housing Authority that are ready for mobilization consist of
(1) 182 projects that are ready for handing off, totaling at 10,000 units
(2) 61 projects to provide homes for the poor, totaling at 15,000 units
(3) 5,000 units of housing for civil servants
(4) 20,000 units for the Din Dang development project, starting in June. Projects by the Community Organizations Development Institute consist of
(1) over 3 thousand security homes
(2) The project to develop Ladprao and Prem Prachakon canal communities, totalling at 26 communities and consisting of over 4,000 houses to be handed off in the middle of this year.
(3) 151 houses for the homeless in Chiang Mai and Khon Kaen.
(4) The “Pathum Thani Model” project with a target of over 1,000 houses.
Our policy of stimulating the price of domestic rubber will be implemented by partnering businesses in the rubber industry, supporting natural rubber exports, and encouraging businesses to add value to rubber products in order to solve the rubber price problem in a sustainable manner.
Recent policy implementation has been satisfactory, as foreign buyers of rubber have increased by 200 percent from over 40 countries, with a total sale value of 50 billion Baht. Thailand has also increased its use of rubber by over 800,000 tons and has increased its purchasing of para wood by over 20,000 containers.
More recently, foreign buyers that have shown interest in rubber, such as China, India, South Korea, Japan, EU, United States, including African and the Middle Eastern countries have signed a total of 8 memorandums of understanding to purchase a total of 17.5 billion Baht worth of rubber, as well as a MOU to purchase other rubber products in the next year, worth 2.16 billion Baht.
Various ministries have supported the use of rubber such as through paving roads, constructing running tracks in stadiums, surfaces for children’s parks, or various materials specific to certain agencies. Even though the price of rubber has improved, the government wants to tack the matter in a sustainable manner by assessing the work of various ministries in order to create another rubber management plan for the future.
The government’s policy of developing the quality of vocational students has been a joint effort between the Ministries of Education, Labour, and Finance, along with the Federation of Thai Industries and the private sector in assessing the demand for various vocations in order to produce human personnel that matches market needs for the 2015-2019 timeframe.
The demand assessment is as follows:
(1) The Thai Chamber of Commerce requires over 3.5 million vocational staff.
(2) The Federation of Thai Industries requires approximately 1.2 million vocational staff
(3) The Tourism Council of Thailand requires approximately 650,000 vocational staff.
These are preliminary assessments in order to draft a human personnel development plan for the Ministry of Education to propose to the “Pracharat Committee” to serve as the country’s human personnel development plan.
In 2016, there is a demand for 1 million vocational staff, while the Vocational Education Commission has indicated it can only produce 450,000 vocational staff. This means that there is a labour shortage in the market. The government has readied measures to meet the demand both in existing vocational fields and new industries. This includes vocational training for those that hold bachelor’s degrees as well.
Finally, I would like to advocate Thai citizens to make use of their spare time with more family bonding activities. For instance, when watching movies or television dramas, parents should be able to give their children guidance and advice about social issues and about what is real and what is artificial, so that children can have a better understanding of their society and thus be less prone to dispute with each other.
There are many Thai television dramas that I think are valuable and constructive such as “Padiwada”, which portrays civil servant work ethics and family values, and “Wai Saeb Saraek Kad” which focuses on caring for children and appropriately solving adolescent issues, both at home and at school.
We are now approaching the summer season and the school holidays. I would like to ask working parents to take extra care for their children at this time, particularly to educate them about playing in water to keep cool, about using appliances and about playing in open spaces. Please teach them to care for themselves as well as others, especially during events of an emergency.
Thank you. Sawasdee Krub