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  1. #1
    Mid
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    Party platforms lack long-term vision for sustaining growth

    RACE TO PARLIAMENT : ECONOMY / POLITICAL PROMISES

    Party platforms lack long-term vision for sustaining growth
    WICHIT CHANTANUSORNSIRI
    Saturday November 24, 2007

    Economic policies being promoted by the six leading political parties lack a cohesive vision for the country's long-term development, economists and business leaders said at a seminar yesterday.

    ''It remains an open question whether the policies put forth by the parties can genuinely lead to long-term economic growth,'' said Nipon Poapongsakorn, dean of Economics at Thammasat University.

    The university yesterday held a debate analysing the policies put forth by the six main parties: the Democrats, People Power, Chart Thai, Matchimathipataya, Ruam Jai Thai and Peua Pandin.

    Dr Nipon said that over the past decade, Thailand's economy had underperformed its potential growth rate by two percentage points, leading to lost opportunities to reduce poverty and raise national income.

    The strategies and measures outlined by the parties to raise growth, meanwhile, fail to provide details in how they will be implemented or paid for.

    ''Some parties focus on consumption-led strategies without explaining where they will find the money for investment,'' Dr Nipon said.

    He said fiscal measures could stimulate growth for one to two years, with every half-point increase in GDP growth requiring as much as 100 billion baht in state spending.

    ''But if you want to continue to boost growth, the amount of money required only increases,'' he said. ''The poverty alleviation strategies of the main parties are akin to pain-killers that fail to address the root of the problems.''

    Strategies to increase access to credit among the poor, meanwhile, create a vicious cycle.

    ''We see policies that give loans to the public, then when problems occur, simply suspend debt repayments. It's not a long-term solution,'' he said.
    ''And no party has yet clearly outlined a strategy to close the income gap. One of the best tools available for this would be a land tax, but no one is willing to commit.''

    Dr Nipon said the next government needed to focus on long-term, sustainable growth and also take steps to improve confidence among local and foreign investors.

    A clear strategy was needed regarding controversial infrastructure projects in the energy sector, such as whether Thailand should pursue nuclear energy.

    Dr Nipon said irrigation programmes should also be re-examined in favour of demand-management strategies to help reduce inefficient use and investment.

    Direk Patmasiriwat, a Thammasat economist, said so-called populist policies were not wrong in themselves.

    ''I can accept that the parties promote populist policies, as after all, their goal is to attract the support of the public,'' he said. ''The question is, what policies are practical and can they be done without undermining fiscal discipline.''

    Dr Direk said health care was an area that should be the responsibility of the state, while in other areas, such as retirement savings, public participation was also needed.

    ''And some policies, such as giving clothes and books to students, should really be the responsibility of parents.''

    State intervention in the markets, such as price guarantees for farmers, lacks efficiency and leads to waste. Better would be insurance programmes that helped cover losses and covered through premium payments by farmers.

    Dr Direk noted that considerable room was available to enlarge tax revenues to finance state investment and public services. Taxes now account for just 18% of Thailand's gross domestic product, compared with an OECD average of 35%.

    bangkokpost.net

    ..............................................

    thankfully there are some Thai's who question how it's all to be paid for ..........

  2. #2
    watterinja
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    Does this come as a surprise? Are Thais generally known for their forward-planning skills?

  3. #3
    Mid
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    kinda a pleasant surprise that there are , at least some , who ARE asking the question .

    how is it all to be paid for ??

  4. #4
    watterinja
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    To be frank, I'd estimate that this election will be more about power than the economy. The next government will not remain very long & will be a caretaker which then re-writes the constitution.

    A pity, it is, in that Thailand could use this time to build a non-partisan think-tank to develop a long-term economic strategy.

  5. #5
    Mid
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    yes , the current lot squandered a golden opportunity IMHO .

    it's a given that pollies worry the most about reelection .

    as the current incumbents were appointed and supposedly not professional pollies ,

    perfect opportunity to take the hard decisions .

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