Listed firms express concern over labour shortage

Construction News

Listed firms express concern over labour shortage  

Top listed firms and government officials recognise the shortcomings in the country’s fundamentals that require near-term fixes but are optimistic about local firms’ success in the global arena.  

Thiraphong Chansiri, Thai Union Frozen’s president, pointed out a key challenge for local business is the shortage of both skilled and unskilled labour as well as constraints on the supply of raw materials.  

“We also need to change the mindset that there will always be people to fill demand. How do we develop talent to support our business expansion over the next five years,” he said during a Thailand Focus 2011 forum.  

Chanin Vongkusolkit, Banpu’s president, said local firms proved they could withstand disruptive political factors, but efficient administration after the upcoming general elections would be important to improve competitiveness.  

As a new election looms in a few months, Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij sought to reassure investors he would continue what he embarked on during the past three years of his administration.  

He said one of the Finance Ministry’s top policies was to strike a balanced budget excluding the interest burden over the next five years. In addition, it wants to reducing inequality and maximise value of its capital in loss-ridden state enterprises either by privatisation or boosting their efficiency.  

“The next three or four years will be a really critical time to tackle these problems,” he said.  

Four new mass transit routes in Bangkok are under construction and three are pending contract signatures. These projects and a high-speed train linking southern China should help to reduce the country’s dependency on fossil fuel.  

“If oil prices stay at this level, we will ease out the diesel subsidies quite soon, as cash in the Oil Fund will be depleted by July,” said Mr Korn.  

In terms of legislation, he said the ministry would continue to endorse the new public and private partnership bill and the land tax bill in the new parliament.  

The former bill is aimed at boosting private investment under a public-designed framework by shortening the bureaucracy procedures from a one-year timeframe and reducing the uncertainty of the interpretation of eligible projects. The goal is to lift private participation significantly from 1% now.  

Also addressing the forum, Prasarn Trairatvorakul, the Bank of Thailand governor, said the global economy was likely to continue to recover. But the United States and Europe’s low-interest-rate policy used to deal with high unemployment could fuel their inflation if the oil price continues to surge.  

“The US and European monetary policymakers are between a rock and a hard place as they balance structural risks to growth with new risks to inflation,” said Dr Prasarn.  

“[For long-term competitiveness], we must have sound fiscal policy that supports our national infrastructure with prudent debt management and structural policies that address education, productivity and our institutional framework.”  

Rising oil and commodity prices will not stop Thailand’s economy from growing between 3% and 5% this year because the economic expansion is broad-based, he added.  


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