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Foreign ministry needs to do more to support economic rehabilitation: Thai PM

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. Photo: World Travel & Tourism Council / CC BY. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

BANGKOK, Aug 8, 2020, Bangkok Post. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha says he has named Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai a deputy prime minister because he wants the ministry to play a bigger role in supporting the economy, Bangkok Post reported.

In the cabinet shakeup announced on Wednesday, six new people were added as previously speculated by media. However, Mr Don is the only sitting minister who gets an additional position to the surprise of many.

Gen Prayut explained his reason to reporters on Friday, saying the Foreign Ministry needed to handle more business and economic affairs.

“Diplomats no longer talk only about foreign relations. They also mention cooperation projects,” he said.

During overseas trips, Mr Don could represent him in holding talks and bringing up for discussions the principles and regulations of the Board of Investment and the Eastern Economic Corridor.

In the future, Thai ambassadors, consuls and trade representatives would play a bigger role in rehabilitating the economy after the Covid-19 pandemic, said Gen Prayut.

On the appointment of Narumon Pinyosinwat as a deputy labour minister — a newly created position since the ministry is small with only three departments — Gen Prayut said he wanted the ministry to also serve as another economic ministry as employment had increased rapidly.

He did not elaborate on the sectors where hiring had soared but said the government had launched many employment projects to help people.

Asked by reporters if the government spokesperson position would be filled next week after being left vacant by Mrs Narumon when she resigned shortly before taking up the ministerial post, Gen Prayut said he was still looking and asked reporters for ideas.

“I’m still looking for someone [for this position]. Do you [reporters] have someone in mind? You can propose them to me and I’ll decide. Just tell me their names,’’ said Gen Prayut.

On speculation that Mr Anucha Buraphachaisri, secretary to the education minister, may take up the position, the prime minister did not answer but said several names had been proposed to him.

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