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Thailand’s New PM Faces Criticism and a Broken Economy



Thailand's New PM Faces Skepticism and a Broken Economy

Thailand’s new Prime Minister, Srettha Thavisin, has promised to address the country’s economic challenges as soon as possible. His pledge comes after four months of political uncertainty as freshly elected parliamentarians were unable to form a cabinet.

Thailand’s economy has suffered as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, which has largely devastated the country’s valuable tourism business. According to him, public debt would exceed 60% of GDP by 2023, while household debt will exceed 90% of GDP this year.

Thailand’s post-pandemic economy is like a “sick person,” with a slow recovery that puts the country “at risk of entering a recession,” according to Srettha. Without getting into specifics, he promised to take immediate steps to address financial issues, reduce rising energy bills, and enhance tourism.

Srettha’s long-term goals include promoting foreign trade, assisting start-up firms, spending more in transportation infrastructure, improving agricultural productivity, empowering local governments, and expanding access to property ownership. The government will also seek to alter the current military-installed constitution through a public involvement process.

These measures would help the economy to thrive and its citizens to “live with dignity,” he claimed.

Thailand’s elections in May demonstrated a strong mandate for change after nearly a decade of military rule.

Srettha’s Pheu Thai party, which finished second in the election, subsequently established a bigger alliance without Move Forward and won Senate support.

However, his party only succeeded by embracing pro-military parties and numerous parties from the previous government, breaking a campaign promise not to do so.

The agreement cast doubt on Pheu Thai’s capacity to keep its election campaign promises while accommodating partners from across the political spectrum.

Thailand’s News PM Criticized

On Monday, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin faced criticism in parliament for a policy plan that opposition legislators deemed imprecise and fell short of some of his party’s most audacious election promises.

Srettha, a political neophyte who leads a coalition government that includes some of his party’s most hostile adversaries, reiterated his programme before parliamentarians, focusing on digital cash transfers, lower energy prices, and simplifying visa regulations to attract tourism.

Later in the day, he stated that his government intended for yearly growth of at least 5% and that strengthening tourism, a critical source of revenue, would help the economy in the medium term.

Srettha, who is also the finance minister, has promised to enhance farmer income through a market-led strategy.

However, the largest opposition party in parliament, Move Forward, said Srettha’s Pheu Thai party’s objective was vague.

“This is pointless. “There are no clear goals, timetable, or budget,” Move Forward politician Sirikanya Tansakul said during a protracted discussion that was expected to end late Tuesday.

“The policy statement must include specifics… it should not be a wish list.”

The new administration assumes an economy that is anticipated to grow 2.8% this year, down from 3.6% previously.

Srettha said that his trademark initiative, a 10,000 baht ($282.09) giveaway to all Thais over the age of 16, would “re-awaken” the economy.

“The digital wallet must be used within a four-kilometer radius in order to trigger regional economic activity… and the six-month limit will spur short-term growth,” he defended his idea.

However, several questioned its funding sources for a project that will cost 560 billion baht ($15.80 billion), including Move Forward’s Sirikanya, who wondered if Srettha meant to “start governing by destroying fiscal discipline.”

Jurin Laksanawisit of the Democrat Party, who was recently Commerce Minister, inquired as to what had become of some of the assurances given to the public in order to win elections.

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