23 May 2024

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin says that he has not even entertained the idea of dismissing Bank of Thailand Governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput or of amending the Bank of Thailand Act to restrict the central bank’s independence.

The prime minister made this statement during his inspection trip to Maha Sarakham and Roi-et provinces yesterday, amidst speculation that Sethaput might be axed after Pheu Thai party leader Paetongtarn Shinawatra, during her address to party members last week, claimed that the central bank’s independence poses an obstacle to the government’s efforts to improve the national economy.

Srettha did admit that there are differences of opinion between the government and the central bank over the interest rate which, he added, is quite normal.

The central bank has resisted the government’s call to reduce the policy rate by 25 basis points, from the current 2.5%, to ease the financial burden on businesses and the public.

State-run and private commercial banks have, however, agreed to cut their lending rates by 0.25% for six months, after the prime minister held informal talks with four top bankers.

During his visit to Roi-et province, which is a major source of Kula Ronghai Hom Mali rice, the prime minister stressed the need for the continuing development of the rice strains and increases in productivity, as well as improvement of irrigation systems.