PM Alludes to Economic Rejig Following Departure Raft

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Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has stated his commitment to banker Predee Daochai to enter a fresh group of cabinets. Recently, the prime minister first accepted the change and said that he was waiting for Mr Predee’s reaction.

Mr Predee is a Kasikornbank co-president and the chairman of the Thai Bankers’ Association. After the resignations of Uttama Savanayana and four other cabinet leaders, including Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, his name emerged as a possible nominee for finance minister.

The prime minister said that because of the coronavirus epidemic, he wants the “best guy” to direct the economy now in deep trouble. Most forecasters expect Thailand, which is heavily dependent on foreign tourism, to post this year’s worst economic contraction in Southeast Asia, possibly 8 per cent.

Gen Prayut refuted claims that Secretary-General Thosaporn Sirisumphand of the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) was invited to support the current economic squad, adding that no officials will be requested to exit the bureaucracy to support the roster.

Meanwhile, former governor of central bank Prasarn Trairatvorakul has declined an invitation to join the revamped cabinet, Gen Prayut said. He told reporters Mr Prasarn had family commitments that stopped him from taking the bid. Gen Prayut said a new line-up of cabinets would be completed until next month at the time.

The shake-up from cabinet isn’t going to be a major one, Gen Prayut told reporters. The Prime Minister stated that while many coalition parties share charge of the ministries of the state, he would be the leader of the economic team of the government himself, and acknowledged that as the economic condition is difficult right now, the new economic team would have a lot to contend with.

Asked if Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon will switch cabinet seats with Minister of the Interior Anupong Paojinda, Gen Prayut said Gen Prawit will still hold his position as Deputy Prime Minister. News of adjustments to cabinet line-up composition came after Mr Uttama and three others submitted their letters of resignation with immediate effect on Thursday.

The remaining three were Minister of Electricity Sontirat Sontijirawong, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Suvit Maesincee and Deputy Secretary-General of the Prime Minister Kobsak Pootrakul. They were part of Mr Somkid ‘s economic team which resigned on Wednesday.

Their resignations came after they had given up their Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) membership last week after a shift of party leadership late last month when Gen Prawit succeeded Mr Uttama as the chief of the PPRP.

Gen Prawit said yesterday that the three cabinet seats left empty after the three ministers resigned was part of the allocation for the prime minister. Gen Prawit said the prime minister would determine who should occupy the posts, adding that the selection of economic ministers is still the prerogative of the prime minister and has little to do with the PPRP.

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