Thailand closing in on five-year development goals

Thailand is close to achieving most of the goals in its 2018-2022 development plan, according to the National Economic and Social Development Council, as the central bank said economic growth for this year should be similar to last year no matter the results of a national election because most parties have similar policies.

Thosaporn Sirisamphand, secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC), said the economy grew by an average of 4.1 percent during the first two years of the five-year national plan. The plan aims for an average of 5 percent a year. That was better, however, than the average of 3 percent and 3.5 percent during the first two years of the two previous five-year plans. The Council believes that barring crises the 5 percent figure is achievable.

Two goals of the country’s economic planners have to achieve stability in an era of disruption and global economic uncertainty and to reduce disparities. The NESDC said the country succeeded in maintaining economic stability for the first two years, with public debt standing at 41.9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018, significantly lower than the 55 percent target for the government’s fiscal and monetary framework the plan aims for by 2022.

On disparities, the net income of farmers between 2017 and 2018 was an average of $2,342 per family, higher than the target of $1,870 per family.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) accounted for 42.4 percent of GDP in 2017, higher than 42.1 percent at the end of the 11th plan, and closing in on the 12th plan goal of 45 percent.

Meanwhile, Bank of Thailand Governor Veerathai Santiprabhob said the major political parties in Thailand are all touting big infrastructure projects, and many of those naturally will focus on the Eastern Economic Corridor advanced development zone.

Therefore, no matter which political camp comes to power he does not foresee a significant shift in economic policy or direction