Government plans to drive 2012 Thai economic growth to 5%: PM


BANGKOK, Feb 1 – Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said on Wednesday that she is confident that the country’s strong fundamentals would enable the government to push Thai economic expansion to five per cent this year through three major strategies.

The first is to promote exports to the Middle East, India, ASEAN members, and other countries having free trade agreements with Thailand such as China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, Ms Yingluck said in a seminar entitled “Decoding GDP 2012” held by the Economic Reporters Association.

The government will also accelerate development of basic infrastructure to facilitate connections to Thailand’s neighbouring countries, aiming to be a hub of trade and investment. Transport development to link the Dawei deep-sea port in Myanmar, the Laem Chabang deep sea port in Thailand and the Chennai Port in India will help support shipping of goods from the Andaman Sea to the Gulf of Thailand.

In the long term, the government will expedite construction of high speed trains and transportation routes worth Bt2.24 trillion in total. Meanwhile, a budget of Bt350 billion will be spent on preventing flooding and generating employment and incomes to stimulate the economy.

As a third emphasis, the government will stimulate household spending by increasing their purchasing power which will also help boost sales for small- and medium-sized enterprises, Ms Yingluck said.

The government will boost household spending through its policies such as its village fund project and a fund to promote women’s role as women can also play a larger role as breadwinners to support their families.

The prime minister said she hoped that the Thai economy will recover “in the form of a V shape” and that the recovery should be seen in the second quarter of this year.