PM convinces business leaders there will be no flood crisis

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Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has convinced international business leaders that Thailand has prepared plans to prevent future flood crises and that the country has potential to be centre of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) ready to offer investment privileges.

Ms Yingluck was attending the 42nd annual World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, and took the opportunity to attempt to regain confidence of leaders and investors in Thailand after last year’s flood crisis.

On Saturday, Yingluck met business leaders and CEOs under the topic of “Public-Private Interaction on Thailand” to seek ways to develop Thailand’s economic potential and policy on water management and long term reform measures in Thailand.

The Thai premier has informed top executives that the Thai government realized investors’ concern over the massive flood crisis last year so the government has systematically laid down water management plans to assure foreign business people that the government could handle the flood situation and that there would be no future flood crisis.

A Single Command Authority would be set up to integrate directives on water management to effectively handle the flood crisis, as US$11 billion budget was set aside to repair and build infrastructure – including dykes – and for disaster forecasting, she said.

Yingluck said that the flood crisis in Thailand last year has shrunk Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth by 2 percent but strong economic sentiment could help rebound GDP growth to 5 percent.

The country’s financial and fiscal status remained healthy, as foreign exchange reserves were high, with public debt-to-GDP ratio at about 40 percent of GDP, she said.

The government has adhered to an investment promotion policy by creating a free and competitive atmosphere, and would cut corporate income tax to 20 percent next year, she said, adding that the government would also dismantle obstacles for companies who wished to set up their regional headquarters in Thailand.

Therefore, Thailand should be considered a good potential business location, as it is a strategic location for ASEAN, and when the ASEAN Community commences in 2015, the mobilization of goods, services, investment, and labor would flow freely in the region.