National development plans under review for pandemics

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has instructed the National Economic and Social Development Council to review and adjust Thailand’s 20-year national strategy to account for events such as pandemics and the economic fallout that result from them.

“The government is maintaining the goals of the 20-year strategy, with only the means and ways of development subject to change,” said Thosaporn Sirisamphand, Secretary-General of the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC).

Thailand’s 20-year national strategy, named Thailand 4.0, is designed to propel the Kingdom to a higher, more sustainable level of development driven by innovation, creativity, research and development, and advanced and green technologies. Its goal is to transform the economy and society.

The NESDC is Thailand’s national economic planning agency. Founded in 1972, it reports directly to the Office of the Prime Minister and formulates five-year development plans. Its mission is to alleviate poverty and income imbalances, enhance national competitiveness, promote social capital development, and sustainable development.

The team that created Thailand 4.0 had already considered the possible impacts of new diseases and integrated measures into the strategy, according to Danucha Pichayanan, the NESDC’s deputy secretary-general. However, they based their measures on diseases similar to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

Danucha said that the impact of Covid-19 is more profound and will probably last longer than those previous epidemics. The problems associated with the new pandemic would be more complicated than those of SARS and MERS, he said.

Thailand’s planners must adjust to these newer and potentially more damaging scenarios, he said, and devise development strategies that would create even more national and economic resiliency so the Kingdom could recover and continue to thrive.

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