BANGKOK — The military junta will only achieve short-term gains with its recent blitz of social and economic measures, economists said in a survey published yesterday.
Sixty economists were asked by Bangkok University pollsters to assess the accomplishments of the military junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) since it seized power from the elected government on 22 May.
According to the poll results, 62.5% of economists said the NCPO's works will only achieve short-term gains, while 18.5% believe long-term gains are possible. Ten percent said the NCPO has not solved any problems at all.
Over the past month, the junta has cracked down on taxi mafias, underground casinos, and illegal migrant workers.
According to respondents, the NCPO is most likely to achieve successful reforms of state enterprises and of migrant workers systems, and least likely to bring about lasting solutions to the widespread issues of illegal gambling and underground lotteries.
Fifty percent of economists surveyed also believe the NCPO has only temporarily achieved political reconciliation and "decolourisation" of Thai politics, while another 20% say the NCPO has failed completely to tackle these issues.
A majority of those surveyed, 78.3%, believe the NCPO's campaign to return "happiness" to the people will only be successful in teh short term, despite its inundation of happiness-related events, including free concerts, fairs, and movie screenings.
Half of the respondents said that Thailand is unlikely to achieve the goal of 3% GDP growth by the end of this year.
The economists concluded that the NCPO lacks concrete strategies, solutions, and advisers to tackle the country’s problems, according to the report.
However, chairman of the industry conglomerate Sahapat gave the NCPO "9.9 points out of 10" for its efforts to oversee the country's economy over the past month.
Sahapat chairman Boonyasit Chokewatthana said yesterday that the NCPO has "smoothly" solved many problems with its wide range police measures over the past month. He added that the NCPO should focus on agricultural exports and restoring the national economy, which has slumped after months of political unrest.
Mr. Boonyasit dismissed concerns that Thai exports will be hurt by economic retaliation from western countries that have condemned the coup.
"There are many other countries that are confident about the strength of Thai economy, and willing to trade with Thailand, such as Japan, China, Australia, and African nations," Mr. Boonyasit said. "The US and Europe cannot pressure us. If they don't buy our goods, we won't sell any to them."
"There are many other countries that want Thai goods," Mr. Boonyasit insisted.