Eight parties presented their economic policies to attract more money to Thailand, on Matichon Forum.
Before Parliament is dissolved and the 2023 Thai election campaign begins, the long-established newspaper Matichon and its sister companies hosted a political debate attended by the prime minister’s top candidates and party leaders from 8 parties on March 13, 2023. They all came with the aim of clarifying issues in politics and economics.
Prachachat Business has collected all the important economic policies from 8 political parties:
Democrat Party on increasing THB 300bn on SMEs
Democratic Party Policy Director Pisit Leeahtam opened the first-panel discussion with the topics of creative industries and soft power. He said Thailand could attract more tourists to the country, which is an important source of revenue for the country, boost employment and increase tourism revenue to THB 2 trillion.
He stressed the need for the country to revive tourism and help hotel businesses that have suffered losses. The Democratic Party’s Director of Policy said the party would increase support funds to THB 300 billion to create soft power and bring money into the country.
Also, Democrat Party will start a local bank with THB 2 million fund to boost the local economy.
PPRP on 5 soft-powers
Sonthirat Sonthijirawong, Political Policy Director of the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), said that the heart of soft power lies in cultural capital. He explained that the most important Thai cultural capital is 1. bringing Thai food to the world market 2. enriching culture and traditions through festivals 3. making the country a cultural fashion centre, 4. improving the film and cinema industry and 5. promoting Thai boxing (Muay Thai)
Sonthirat added that Thailand can compete with other countries in the service sector. However, there are 3 important transitional measures that need to be implemented: clearer policies, better budgeting and better cooperation between the private sector and the government.
Bhumjaithai on universal healthcare
Bhumjaithai Party leader Anutin Charnvirakul stressed the need to reduce inequality between the rich and the poor, large corporations and small businesses. He stressed that the government must take more care of the citizens and that everyone should be equal.
The party plans to continue and develop the so-called ’30 Baht Universal Healthcare’ program by providing access to more people in each province and adding more diseases and treatments to the programme, such as cancer, radiotherapy, dialysis and hemodialysis.
With regard to education, Anutin proposed that his government if elected will provide an interest-free loan without guarantors. He will adjust the law to make it fair to the people.
He said he was confident, given the country’s reputation, that the government could find a soft loan. This would allow state-owned enterprises to seek fewer profits and return them to the public.
Phue Thai Party to triple agriculture income in 4 years
Prommin Lertsuridej, director of the Phue Thai Party for Politics and Economy, said that the Thai economy has experienced a recession in the last 8 years and has lagged behind. He added that the government must tackle the root of the problem by first helping low-income citizens while strengthening the country’s economy.
According to a study by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), if the economy of the 20 percent richest class grows by 1 percentage point, total economic growth will fall by 0.8 percentage points. In contrast, if the country strengthens the economy of the bottom 20 percent of society, GDP will increase by 0.48 percentage points, a 7-fold difference in overall economic growth.
The Phue Thai Party insisted on its all-encompassing policy-making. Short-term measures aim to revive tourism to attract foreign money, increase revenue from agriculture, which accounted for 8 percent of GDP within 4 years, improve marketing and financing for small and medium enterprises, increase productivity and create a life-long learning environment through the use of advanced technology.
Move Forward and Chartthaipattana focus on raising wages
Santi Kiranand, the Chartthaipattana Strategic Committee, said his party was not only focusing on increasing the minimum wage but also on skilling and retraining the labour force within the entire economic system.
He suggested that the government should use tax incentives to attract the private sector and focus on the skills of informal workers, as well as the education system.
Sirikanya Tansakun, deputy leader in the policy of the Future Forward Party, said the party will aim to increase the minimum wage to 450 THB per day and increase the wage every year, taking into account inflation and GDP.
“Our party will systematically raise wages every year to end the wage policy campaign and strengthen the bargaining power of all workers. [The party] will make a rule for upskilling and career change through online training,” Sirikanya said.
The party will help small and medium enterprises with wage increases by allowing them to stop paying for workers’ social security for 6 months, and they can reduce the 2-times tax on wages.
Suwat: new THB 5trn economy
Chart Pattana Kla Party Leader Suwat Liptapanlop revealed the party plan to increase more money to the country during high spending periods. He promised the new THB 5 trillion economy.
In his opinion, the fastest way to generate revenue is through tourism. In the next 4 years, he said, he wants to double the current record, double the number of tourists from 40 million to 70 million, increase the length of stay from 10 to 12 days, and increase spending from THB 5,000 to THB 6,000. If you add up all the figures of 70 million tourists to 12 days stay and 6,000 THB per day, you get a turnover of THB 5 trillion.
Suwat emphasised the 5-Fs soft power economy through film, fighting [boxing], fashion, food and festival. He also mentioned the improvement of agribusiness, which could create several million jobs and higher income.
He also planned to reduce costs through changes in the energy structure to reduce the cost of oil, gas, electricity, refinery margin (spread), marketing and the cost of renewable energy. He also mentioned the new tax regime whereby people earning up to THB 40,000 will be exempt from income tax.
Cancelled 1,400 laws to benefit businesses
Suphan Mongkolsuthi, deputy party leader and head of economic policy of the Thai Sang Thai Party, said the party aims to create scope for small businesses to increase the country’s income.
He insisted that the government must help smaller businesses through the Thailand Board of Investment (BOI). Suphan said small businesses deserve their own branch where there is a one-stop service to help them expand in the export industry to bring money into the real economy and financial markets.
Suphan said that there are several ways to increase the country’s revenue. For exports, it would be better if the country helped create tens of thousands of small businesses. He said Thailand needs to focus on the country’s strengths in agriculture and tourism and use the Ta system to support them. In addition, the private sector and the government need to work together.
“There are more than 1,400 laws that hinder the business. [We] need to halt these laws.”