An official describes national strategies in Bangkok last year. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)
A bill governing national strategy for the next 20 years is expected to be enforced from August, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said yesterday.
Describing the law as a key piece of legislation to lay the foundation for national development, he said it is likely to be passed that month.
The bill, which passed its first reading in the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) this week, sets out plans for ways to develop Thailand and any proposals must be in compliance with national strategy, he said.
Mr Wissanu was speaking after a meeting of the Committee for National Administration under the Framework of National Reform, Strategy, and Reconciliation chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
The proposed bill is part of work being carried out by a panel overseeing national strategy.
If passed into law, it would establish a national strategy committee as a de facto “superboard” to implement national strategy, with various committees set up to design specific action plans.
Once set up, the national strategy committee would work with the national reform committee and the Committee for National Administration under the aforementioned framework, the deputy premier said.
The Committee for National Administration under that same framework would continue its role until a new and elected government is formed, he added.
The proposed law has drawn criticism from political parties concerned that the long-term national development plan would restrict future elected governments’ ability to run the country.
Mr Wissanu said the prime minister did not discuss fresh elections during the meeting but informed the participants of two key events that will take place later this year: The royal cremation of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej in October and the coronation of his successor, His Majesty the King.
However, the deputy premier noted that the countdown to fresh elections should begin as soon as four election-related organic bills are passed into law.
Two of them governing the Election Commission and political parties have been forwarded to the NLA for deliberation.
Addressing the meeting yesterday, Gen Prayut insisted the 20-year blueprint for taking Thailand forward would not block or cripple the work of future elected governments.
He said a long-term strategy is crucial and requires cooperation from politicians, state officials and the public.
In addition, the NLA also passed in its first reading a government-sponsored bill on national reforms.
At the same time, the National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA) has submitted four proposals to the national reform committee for consideration, according to Mr Wissanu.
He said these call for flea markets in every village, broader agricultural insurance coverage, a court for environmental issues, and the relaxation of regulations under the private-public partnership to boost investment.
According to Mr Wissanu, the NRSA’s proposals were freshly submitted along with 27 more urgent issues by the sub-committee tasked with overseeing national reform issues.
He said Gen Prayut has instructed the Agriculture Ministry, the Commerce Ministry and the Finance Ministry to study the proposal on insurance in the agricultural sector, and asked the authorities concerned to discuss the proposed special court with the judiciary.
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