Private, public sectors represented on new junta-led body to boost efficiency
The junta’s new “superboard” overseeing all state enterprises has the stated aim of getting them all moving in the same direction towards strength and efficiency.
The superboard was set up on Thursday by the military’s ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) and is chaired by junta leader General Prayuth Chan-ocha along with members of the government and private sectors.
The superboard is authorised to recommend policies, management and development plans for all state enterprises. It is also empowered to supervise and follow up the performance of state enterprises to ensure effectiveness and efficiency among other goals.
The board members also include financiers, businesspeople and lawyers.
Deunden Nikomborirak, research director of the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI), agreed with inclusion of businesspeople, who should be able to recommend business concepts for administration of state enterprises.
The NCPO says the superboard includes Bank of Thailand Governor Prasarn Triratvorakul, Kasikornbank chief executive officer Banthoon Lamsam, Kiatnakin Bank CEO Banyong Pongpanich, and Taweesak Kor-anantakul, former director of the National Science and Technology Development Agency.
Rapee Sucharitkul, a former executive at a subsidiary of KBank, and Veerathai Santipraphob, a former executive at the Stock Exchange of Thailand, are also members.
Deunden said the superboard would concentrate on formulating state enterprises’ long-term plans and solve their long-term problems, while short-term ones would be handled by the State Enterprise Policy Committee.
“The superboard should set mechanisms and regulations for state enterprises, particularly for establishing committees, in order to prevent political intervention if there is a change of a government,” she said.
The TDRI research director also urged the board members to review all state enterprises on whether they are worth continuing. If some face financial troubles like Thai Airways International, the State Railway of Thailand, the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority, the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Bank of Thailand and the Islamic Bank of Thailand, special care should be taken. Meanwhile, some might need better corporate governance.
There could be four groups of state enterprises.
The first is those that should be shut down, while the second is waiting for rehabilitation. The third may require shareholders and the fourth may need reforms.
Luxmon Attapich, Asian Development Bank senior country economist in Thailand, said the superboard could strengthen state enterprises.
“It’s good for the NCPO to assist state enterprises and we need to follow how it will be done. The members listed are those with knowledge and opinions [useful to] state enterprises,” she said.
She explained that the ADB had studied cases of state enterprises in other countries and Thailand could explore them ways to improve its own agencies.
Other members of the superboard will be the permanent secretaries of Defence, Finance, Transport, Energy and Interior and secretaries-general of the Council of State and National Economic and Social Development Board.
Air Chief Marshal Prajin Juntong, the NCPO’s deputy chief in charge of economic issues, yesterday said the superboard aimed to supervise all 56 state enterprises so they all move in the same direction.Former finance minister Korn Chatikavanij posted his support through his Facebook page, noting that the structure and authority of the new superboard were similar to those of a scheme proposed by the Finance Ministry when Somkid Jatusripitak was minister.
Korn said he saw this as an opportunity to rearrange regulations for state enterprises to prevent political intervention.
First published: ฺThe Nation, June 28, 2014