Somkid tables superboard plan to plug graft loopholes

DEPUTY Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak is getting ready to table a plan to set up a superboard to control the terms of reference of state investments while also pushing robotics industry and improving railways in the country, Thai News agency said today (Feb. 22).

The Deputy Premier said in a keynote address at a function on “How to Start Up and Turn the Economy to 4.0” that the government is moving the country forward to reach the Thailand 4.0 goal by revamping the economic structure so that it is more balanced and increasing investment.

However in order to ensure that that investment budgets for large projects are not misappropriated, with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha heavily focusing on this, loopholes have to be plugged and for this reason he is tabling a plan to the Cabinet to appoint professionals to a superboard to check the terms of reference (TORs) of these projects so that they are not changed afterwards especially altering the bid price.

“The Prime Minister will set up a superboard to take care of projects approved by the Cabinet so that there are no additions or changes made after Cabinet approval – this move will leave those who like amending TORs feeling cold.”

Mr Somkid added that in the next two to three weeks Industry Minister Uttama Savanayana will suggest that the Cabinet consider implementing a package to support robotics and railway industries here.

Moreover a tax measure will be unveiled next week to encourage Thais and foreigners to invest in Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) with investors having the option of either paying a fixed tax rate of 17% or individual withholding tax because it is the government’s policy to turn EEC into the center of investment and transportation.

 Mr Somkid added that he is pleased with the Thai economy growing 3% in the fourth quarter of 2016 and 3.2% throughout last year because it has not been easy to turn the Thai economy around and reach this point as the global economy slowed down last year.

The  Deputy Premier is certain that economic growth will be good this year because exports will likely climb by over 3% with Commerce Ministry’s target actually being 5%. The focus is to expand bilateral trade in new industries with key markets with these being US, China and CLMV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam).


Top: Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak speaking to reporters after today’s event. Photo: Thai News Agency


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