Government performance described as unimpressive in recent poll
INCOME INEQUALITY, LACK OF POLITICAL REFORM AND STALLED DEEP SOUTH PEACE PROCESS ALL SEEN AS WEAK POINTS
DESPITE unrelenting efforts to revive the economy and spur |higher economic growth in the third quarter of this year, the Prayut |government has scored low marks for its economic management and prevailing income inequalities, according to the latest National Institute of Development Adminis-tration (Nida) opinion survey.
The Nida poll, which was conducted last Wednesday and Thursday with a sampling of 1,250 persons nationwide, showed respondents were “most unimpressed” by the government’s performance regarding their economic well-being, followed by political reforms, election preparation and the government’s handling of the deep South unrest.
On a positive note, the survey showed the government’s “most impressive” work over the past one year was considered to be its subsidy for newborn babies, which was cited by 75.6 per cent of respondents. The reclamation of forest land and farmland management was cited by 64.8 per cent of respondents, while new regulations on street vendors, motorcycle taxis and vans, as well as land use at public beaches, were both cited by 62.5 per cent of respondents.
According to Nida, respondents were 18 years and older with 34.5 per cent saying they were “very impressed” by the government’s performance, 23.6 per cent saying “impressed” and 21.6 per cent “not quite impressed”.
Of the respondents, 8.2 per cent are Bangkok residents, while 25.8 per cent live in Bangkok’s peripheral areas and other Central provinces. Another 18.6 per cent of respondents live in northern provinces while 32.8 per cent and 14.4 per cent are northeastern and southern residents respectively.
In terms of income, 12 per cent said they had no income, while 25 per cent said they earned an income of less than Bt10,000 per month. Another 21.2 per cent said their incomes were between Bt10,000 and Bt20,000 per month, while 11.6 per cent and 5.6 per cent said they earned Bt20,001 to Bt30,000 and Bt30,000 to Bt40,000 respectively. Another 10.08 per cent said their income was more than Bt40,000 per month and 14.4 per cent did not specify any income.
The latest poll shows that the government’s economic management has not delivered results for low and middle-income groups despite the higher GDP growth rate of nearly 4 per cent in the third quarter of this year.
The stronger growth rate was due to the improved performance of export industries and the recovery of global markets.
Most economic benefits, however, have concentrated among exporters and higher-income groups resulting in an uneven distribution of wealth.
On the political front, most respondents were not impressed by the government’s political reform agenda and its preparation for the next general election, while efforts to resolve problems in the southernmost provinces also left respondents unimpressed.
However, the US Trade Representative’s latest upgrade of Thailand’s status from the Priority Watch List to the Watch List, which represented a promotion, was good news for the government over the weekend.
The upgrade is expected to boost the economy and foreign investor confidence in Thailand, while the European Union earlier restored full political contacts with Thailand after downgrading relations in the wake of the 2014 coup.
The EU will also explore possibilities to resume negotiations with Thailand on a major Thai-EU Free Trade Agreement suspended more than three years ago.
Public evaluates recent policies
Top three “most impressive” policies
1. State subsidy for newborns (75.6 per cent of respondents)
2. Forest land reclamations and farmland reform (64.8 per cent of respondents)
3. New regulations on street vendors, motorcycle taxies, vans, etc (62.5 per cent of respondents)
Top three “most unimpressive” policies
1. Economic management and well-being (58.1 per cent of respondents)
2. Political reforms and election preparations (47.7 per cent of respondents)
3. Deep South unrest (47.2 per cent of respondents)