Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha told ministers last week he is ready to use Section 44 of the interim charter that grants him broad powers – to speed up passage of several pieces of legislation designed to increase ease of doing business in the Kingdom and gain a higher ranking from the World Bank in its annual ease of doing business global rankings.
“The government is eager to tackle areas that need improvement and make it easier to do business here, creating a business-friendly environment in Thailand,” said Tossaporn Sirisamphan, the secretary-general of the Office of the Public Sector Development Commission, who attended the meeting with the Prime Minister. “The goal is for the country to crack the top 30 for business-friendly destinations and attract more investment.”
Thailand was ranked number 46 among 190 countries in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report last year. The Kingdom rose three places from number 49 in 2015, and ranked ninth in Asia. In Southeast Asia, Thailand trailed only Singapore and Malaysia.
The new rankings are usually announced by October, but the assessment period often takes place before mid-year. That means legal changes and amendments that help business need to be passed quickly to be in place before the upcoming assessment. Deliberations in the legislature can be time consuming and bills and amendments need to pass three readings before being sent on to the Council of State to ensure they are constitutional and then published in the Royal Gazette.
It is unlikely that the five laws the economic ministers and the business community would like to see amended would make it through the legislature in time to be considered in the upcoming World Bank review.
That prompted the Prime Minister to say he is ready to use Section 44 of the interim constitution to ensure they are enacted before the review takes place.
The Prime Minister has used the Section 44 sparingly and no dissent has been heard from ministers or the business community concerning him using it in this case.
The laws that the ministers and businesspeople are asking to be amended are the Civil and Commercial Code, the Labor Protection Act, the Social Security Act, the Public Limited Companies Act and the Electronic Transactions Act.
Source: Royal Thai Embassy, Washington D.C.