The Move Forward Party (MFP) in Thailand announced its commitment to increasing welfare spending and raising the minimum wage, while simultaneously promoting economic growth through opening up the market to competition and reducing corruption.
The Thai economy experienced a 2.6% growth last year as it gradually recovered from the global pandemic. The MFP, which is striving to lead a coalition after securing the most seats in the general election on May 14, has caused some concern among businesses with its plan to hike the minimum wage by 27-37%.
Sirikanya Tansakul, who leads MFP’s economic team and is the party’s choice for finance minister, emphasised that the priority would be to assist households burdened with debt. She noted that the party would help with utility bills and provide incentives to small businesses. Sirikanya said…
“Household income should grow 5% per year. There is going to be a spill-over effect from a stronger grassroots economy.”
Thailand has one of the highest household debt to gross domestic product (GDP) ratios in Asia, with one in every three of its 66 million people trapped in debt.
As a former public policy researcher, Sirikanya said that an MFP government would immediately raise the minimum wage, but would also take into account the concerns of the private sector and work out support for businesses. Some economists have welcomed the prospect of reform under a government led by a party committed to freeing up markets and promoting efficiency, while others have suggested that such policies should be introduced gradually.
To offset higher welfare spending, Sirikanya mentioned that MFP would aim to streamline taxation, introduce some new taxes, and reduce corruption. The information above is based on a press release from the Thai government.
The MFP also pledged to introduce a bill legalising same-sex marriage and promoting gender equality once the party forms a government.
In a recent Facebook post, MFP leader Pita Limjaroenrat stated that the party’s marriage equality bill would be pushed for passage within 100 days of forming a government, as part of a memorandum of understanding signed by the coalition’s eight parties. Read more on the story HERE.
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