DPM Somkid admits he no longer controls national economic affairs

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said today that he is no longer directly in charge of Thailand’s national economic affairs, but merely oversees four related ministries.

He gave his assurance, however, that Thailand’s economic fundamentals remain strong and there is no need to be panicked into issuing new economic stimulus packages in the wake of a global economic slowdown.

Citing the case of Singapore, which is also experiencing a slowdown, Somkid said that the island state stays calm and works to deal with the problem.

“Everyone must help out, wake up and help themselves. Thailand’s economy is not that bad,” said the deputy prime minister.

He went on to say that he has assigned the Ministry of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives to coordinate with the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC), Farmer’s Council and village funds to consider measures to help farmers currently suffering from a slump in prices of agricultural produce.

Echoing Mr. Somkid’s admission that he has lost direct control over economic affairs, due to the structure of a coalition government, PM’s Minister Kobsak Pootrakool, who had been a member of Mr. Somkid’s team for the past five years, agreed that the government does not have total control of the policies of economy related ministries, which are now overseen by deputy prime ministers of the various coalition parties.

This drawback explains why it is necessary to have an “economic cabinet”, headed by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, to ensure that the economic policies of each ministry are complementing one another for the benefit of the country.

From now on, Mr. Kobsak said that the economic cabinet would meet weekly, with the next meeting scheduled for September 12 to discuss measures to boost exports and stimulate tourism.

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