A leader must have a clear vision to bring Thailand out of its economic crisis, said former deputy prime minister Somkid Jatusripitak at a public lecture on Sunday, his first since his exit from the Prayut administration in July 2020.
The lecture was delivered at the Leadership for Change seminar on Sunday, a few weeks after the newly established Sang Anakhot Thai Party announced Mr Somkid had accepted an invitation to serve as the party’s prime ministerial candidate.
The former deputy premier discussed six issues and urged people to reflect on them while stressing throughout the lecture that he was not pointing a finger at anyone.
Mr Somkid said the global community is faced with more risks and uncertainties, which will only become harder to predict.
He noted the Covid-19 pandemic, which has caused widespread adverse impacts on the economy and people’s livelihoods, is still not over.
He said when a country makes the decision to live with the disease, outbreak management must remain a top priority.
The military conflict between Ukraine and Russia has compounded the problem, worsening the economic slump by causing energy prices to soar — contributing to inflation which could lead to political turmoil, as in the case of Brazil and Sri Lanka.
He urged the government to think several steps ahead and plan for contingencies should the war in Ukraine become a protracted conflict.
Given the uncertainties surrounding the nation’s economic recovery, Mr Somkid said four key agencies — the Finance Ministry, the Bank of Thailand, the National Economic and Social Development Council and the Budget Bureau — must think outside the box to stop citizens from being sucked into an economic black hole.
“These agencies must take bold steps and propose a budget plan [that suits] the unusual economic situation. They must also have a clear direction and be brave to proceed,” he said.
“Political and state officials must work together because we are facing a recession. We’re seeing runaway prices,” he said.
“I’m not pointing the finger at the government though. Every stakeholder has to help.”
Several countries have banned the export of certain products to ensure availability for local consumption, so the government must be prepared for this, he said.
Mr Somkid said budget and fiscal policy decentralisation have to be done to drive national development, so legal amendments must be expedited to achieve them.
The Interior Ministry should also shift its role to help stimulate economic recovery and development, he said.
Thailand’s competitiveness is very high and the government should use its flagship Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) to drive technological development and redefine the country’s role in the world community, he said.