Government tells doomsayers to hush up

BANGKOK (AFP): Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra today admonished bankers and economists for a rash of gloomy pronouncements on the economy, saying their comments were inaccurate and damaging. “You don’t know more than the government, and your comments are based only on feelings,” he said. “It will affect the country and it will make the public feel discouraged.” The Bangkok Post said Tuesday that Thaksin and his finance minister, Somkid Jatusripitak, had contacted top economists and business leaders to tell them to stop making predictions on the ailing economy. The pair wanted an end to what they saw as “destructive comments” that damaged sentiment, a government source told the daily. Thai Bankers’ Association president Chulakorn Singhakowin set off the row last week by saying that the nation faces another eight years in the economic doldrums. “If we keep going like this, we will not be able to recover for the next eight years,” he said, pinning the blame on the government’s failure to carry out structural reforms. Bangkok Bank executive chairman Kosit Panpiemras joined the debate yesterday, saying his institution expected the economy to grow by just 1.0-2.0 percent this year and 2.0-2.5 percent next year – well below government forecasts. Somkid today rejected Chulakorn’s prognosis for an eight-year slump, saying the economy could pick up much more quickly, thanks to his government’s stimulus initiatives. “The Bankers’ Association chairman, who is in a position to help the government, should be careful about every word he says,” Somkid warned.

Phuket News
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