Democrats savage govt in 1st-year performance review
The opposition Democrat Party yesterday blasted the government’s performance during its first year in office.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and cabinet ministers yesterday delivered the government’s first-year performance address to the parliament, as required by the constitution. The address lasts two days.
The government’s report of its performance during its first year in office is a year late. It was sworn in on Aug 10, 2011, and announced its policy platform before parliament 13 days later. The address began at 2pm yesterday. Ms Yingluck told parliament that the government had stepped up efforts to implement various urgent policies.
Of particular need was its attempt to rehabilitate the country after the great floods in 2011, the premier said.
The government has also sought to strengthen the economy by restoring investor confidence.
It has worked to create an atmosphere for reconciliation, restore international relations and begin to launch infrastructure development projects, she said.
Deputy Prime Minister Kittiratt NaRanong told parliament that the government was able to reduce the budget deficit from 400 billion baht last year to 300 billion baht this year. He said the budget deficit was expected to fall to 250 billion baht in the next fiscal year.
He said the government has tried to help people cope with the rising cost of living, regulate agricultural products and maintain financial discipline to strengthen financial stability.
Mr Kittiratt said the government has introduced a debt moratorium for farmers, increased the minimum wage and reduced contributions to the Oil Fund.
He added that the government has boosted state revenues by maintaining economic stability and promoting tourism, with the number of tourists increasing to 22 million this year.
The Democrat Party pointed out that the government had failed to implement several of its policy pledges.
Opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said the government had failed to restrain inflation. It has been unable to tackle the economic recession and the rising cost of living, not to mention rising oil prices.
The rise in transport fuel prices in turn had led to increases in consumer product prices, Mr Abhisit said.
He said the government’s policy to increase the minimum starting salary for bachelor’s degree holders to 15,000 baht a month was also impractical.
The opposition leader also criticised the government’s rice-pledging scheme, saying it has cost the state up to 150 billion baht each year, with Thailand now losing its status as the world’s top rice exporter.
Mr Abhisit urged the government to stop creating ‘‘bogus purchasing power’’ and move away from populist policies to improving education, and revamp the economic, social and political structures.
Democrat MP for Bangkok Sansern Samalabha said that under the Yingluck government, growth in all sectors had slowed, while household spending had increased, causing household debt to double from 6,000 baht per household to 12,000 baht. Public debt now stands at 1 trillion baht, Mr Sansern said.
Chief opposition whip Jurin Laksanavisit yesterday said the opposition also plans to table a no-confidence motion against the government in November.