New economic czar lays out agenda

Thailand’s newly appointed economic czar, Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow, laid out an agenda for recovery and growth, detailing immediate relief measures and longer-term and sustainable strategies in an interview last week.

“The government pledges to implement a host of new measures to boost the economy and policies to restore the confidence of investors, as well as those aiming to spur private investment, domestic tourism, domestic consumption and create more jobs,” said Supattanapong in an interview with the Bangkok Post newspaper.

Supattanapong, who formerly ran PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC), took over the helm of managing the economy earlier this month after the cabinet reshuffle. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha also appointed Supattanapong the Minister of Energy.

Supattanapong takes control during challenging times, as the economy is contracting due to the global impact of the coronavirus on the world economy this year.

“We need to focus first on alleviating the hardship of people who were affected by the closure of factories and laid-off workers in the tourism sector,” he said.

The Deputy Prime Minister pointed out that the government would need cooperation from both the private and academic sectors to jointly solve the problems.

To support the changing economy, Supattanapong said universities should concentrate more on research and development in energy, data analytics, bioengineering, artificial intelligence and bioeconomy.

“Tackling income disparity is also a big challenge, and I am studying how to address this problem in both the medium term and the long term,” he added.

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