Five ministries and six state-owned financial institutions are joining hands in promoting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the “One Tambon, One Product,” or OTOP, program.
They signed a cooperation document to work in an integrated manner to strengthen SMEs and the OTOP program. The signing ceremony took place on 18 March 2013 and was witnessed by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
The five ministries include the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Industry, the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, and the Ministry of Interior.
The six financial institutions include the Export-Import Bank of Thailand, the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Bank of Thailand, the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives, the Government Savings Bank, the Islamic Bank of Thailand, and the Thai Credit Guarantee Corporation.
Industry Minister Prasert Boonchaisuk said that SMEs and OTOP are strong foundations for Thailand’s economic development. Cooperation between the five government agencies and the six financial institutions is intended to provide SME and OTOP operators with greater access to financial sources. It will help upgrade SMEs and OTOP enterprises, so that they will move onto the global stage for sustainable development in the future.
After witnessing the signing ceremony, Prime Minister Yingluck also presided over a workshop titled “SME Roadmap: Moving toward AEC.” The Prime Minister said that both SMEs and OTOP are major factors in the country’s economic drive, and their combined value is 3.9 trillion baht, accounting for 37 percent of GDP. They employ almost 11 million people, accounting for 84 percent of the country’s labor force. SMEs and OTOP producers export items worth 2.2 trillion baht, representing about 30 percent of Thailand’s total export value.
The Prime Minister said that, after the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is in place in 2015, ASEAN will become a market of 600 million people. Both SMEs and OTOP operators would have greater opportunities, and they would face greater challenges, as well. So all relevant organizations should offer a helping hand to enhance the competitiveness of Thai entrepreneurs and accommodate new markets brought about by AEC.
The Government is ready to help develop networks between large industries and SMEs for greater production efficiency and added value. It will offer assistance in terms of innovation and technical know-how for product development. The assistance also includes the upgrading of product standards, imports of modern technology to increase productivity, and the expansion of domestic and foreign markets.
The Government will provide financial sources for new entrepreneurs, so that they will be developed from small to medium-sized enterprise operators and then to large enterprise operators in the future.