Special report: PM places emphasis on education, reducing social gap to move nation forward

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Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has made an announcement on her new strategy to move Thailand forward, at a meeting of heads of government units and state enterprises held in Bangkok.

Ms. Yingluck said her strategy had been developed to address internal and external factors influencing the Thai economy which relies mostly on export incomes.

During her speech at Centara Grand Central World, the Prime Minister said in order for the national economy to grow it is important that the government focuses on improving education, raising social equality, tackling corruption and drug abuse as well as increasing competitiveness.

Ms. Yingluck pointed out that Thailand was lacking behind in competitiveness as previous governments did not encourage large scale investments in the country’s infrastructure. In the past, she said, infrastructural investments were launched following a year-by-year budget planning, not on a sustainable basis. In addition, Ms. Yingluck said, her 16-point urgent policy, funded by the budgets allocated during the 2012 to 2013 fiscal years, has progressed as planned.

The Premier boasted the flood relief program, the minimum wage rise, tourism growth and the first car policy among other projects that her government has succeeded in.

She also claimed that investor confidence rose during the period mentioned as tax collections exceeded the target. The number of foreign direct investments in Thailand rose by 2,500 last year compared to the year earlier.

Ms. Yingluck said she is confident that the government will achieve a better economic growth rate within the first 6 months of this year. According to her, there is also sufficient capital reserve to sustain economic expansion.

She speculated Thailand’s GDP to reach 5.5% this year while the inflation rate will rise to no more than 3% of the GDP. The Ministries of Commerce and Finance have been tasked with keeping the inflation rate under control.

The Prime Minister reiterated to the heads of government units attending the meeting that the 2014 budget expenditure that each unit will draw up should complement the mentioned strategy in order to ensure efficient disbursement of the budget.