Thai cabinet creates new economic center to reboot economy battered by COVID-19

The Thai cabinet meeting on Thursday (August 13) authorized a newly created center to be established to address the economic situation heavily battered by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Passengers walk through Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok on June 8. (Photo: Nikkei Asian Review)
Passengers walk through Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok on June 8. (Photo: Nikkei Asian Review)

The economic situation administration center, tasked with working in the same way as the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), will be chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

The center's main focus is to promote Thailand's economic rehabilitation from the pandemic crisis. It will take charge of proposing solutions to tackle economic problems and supervise the government's economic rehabilitation efforts.

The center will comprise 22 committees with representation from all economic ministers, the interior and labor ministries, the Bank of Thailand's (BoT) governor and the heads of three large private-sector organizations.

The secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) will be the center's secretary.

Prime Minister Prayut said that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken an enormous toll on all sectors.

"The establishment of the economic situation administration center is essential because the pandemic not only ripped off income to exports and tourism, but the pandemic had led to a slump in domestic employment and business activities generated by the small and medium-sized enterprises," said Prayut.

Exports and tourism have been the two major contributors to Thailand's economy.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) earlier predicted that foreign visitors to Thailand this year may plunge to only 2 to 3 million from 40 million in the previous year.

The BoT earlier downgraded its forecast of Thailand's full-year economic outlook to a 8.1 percent contraction, instead of a 5.3 percent recession as previously forecast.

Thanavath Phonvichai, director of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce's Center for Economic and Business, told Xinhua that like other countries, the Thai government will be faced with challenging tasks to revive the economy.

"As long as the infections continue to spread and no vaccine is available, the Thai economy will remain stagnant," said Thanavath.