Thai military launches early retirement scheme funded by 600 million baht

Picture courtesy of matichonweekly

The Defence Ministry is advancing with an initiative to streamline the Thai military, proposing the allocation of 600 million baht from the central budget to facilitate an early retirement scheme over the next three years.

Defence Minister, Sutin Klungsang, unveiled the strategy as a crucial part of the plan to reduce and optimise the military force, with the initial phase set to roll out from 2025 to 2027.

The early retirement scheme offers an appealing deal for soldiers aged 50 years and above, enabling them to retire ahead of schedule with an elevated rank at the end of their service. This promotion would consequently yield improved retirement benefits for the departing soldiers.

To successfully execute the scheme, the Thai government requires an extra 200 million baht (US$ 5,724,672) yearly to cater to the enhanced benefits for the early retirees. However, it’s worth noting that the 600-million-baht (US$ 17,174,016) budget request for the scheme appears economical in the wider context. Without the scheme, the government would have to shell out over four billion baht (US$ 114,493,440) to cover the monthly salaries of soldiers eligible for early retirement, according to Sutin.

The initial phase of the downsizing plan would result in the elimination of 1,713 superfluous posts. The funds previously allocated to these positions would be redirected to more productive aspects of the military, reported Bangkok Post.

In a complementary move, Defence Minister Sutin Klungsang, along with Interior Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, Deputy Minister of Education Surasak Phancharoenworakul, and Minister of Higher Education Science, Research, and Innovation Supamas Isarabhakdi, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the development of the armed forces’ human resources.

The MoU represents a significant opportunity for all divisions of the military to enhance their human resources. It provides for enlisted soldiers to receive job training under the auspices of the Thailand Professional Qualification Institute (TPQI). Furthermore, the ministry commits to offering a minimum salary of 11,000 baht (US$ 314) for enlisted soldiers.

Sutin spoke positively about the transformative potential of the initiative, expressing hopes of shifting the public perception of military enrolment from a time-intensive process to a period of self-development for soldiers.

Thailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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