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Decentralization of Administrative Power: An Important Factor for Thailand Reform
Source: thailand.prd.go.th
Source Date: Thursday, August 26, 2010
Focus: Institution and HR Management
Country: Thailand
Created: Aug 30, 2010

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has cited the decentralization of administrative power as an important factor to help in the process of reforming Thailand and bringing about reconciliation in Thai society.

In his remarks on decentralization and reform made recently at the Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University, the Prime Minister said that efforts to reform Thailand and bring about reconciliation are the current goal of the country. He believed that local development in response to local needs would be able to tackle people’s problems effectively. In this regard, each community or locality should be empowered to make its own decisions in dealing with economic, social, and political issues.

He stated that centralization would lead to higher costs and the loss of good opportunities, thus creating problems and causing a heavy burden to the country. These problems might be accumulated and lead to conflicts, political protests, and violence.

As the Government focuses on reforming the country in order to bring about reconciliation and efficient national development, it needs to accelerate the process of decentralization, so that local administrative organizations and communities would play a greater role in tackling various problems for local people. The Prime Minister said that the decentralization process in Thailand had grown substantially over the past 10 years. Even so, the pace of its decentralization is still slow, when compared with that of developed countries, or even some developing nations.

He stressed the need to ease obstacles to the acceleration of decentralization. Emphasis should be placed on four points. The first point involves the transfer of missions and activities from central administration to regional administration. Local organizations need to enhance their efficiency in order to carry out new missions and activities. The second point involves certain constraints in terms of financial and fiscal management. At present, local income is very low, so local administrative bodies need to seek subsidies from central administration. In this regard, the Government is trying to revise the law concerning property and land tax in order to increase local earnings, in addition to reducing the problem of inequality.

In the third point, local administrative organizations need to work more closely with civil society, in line with the concept of decentralization. The fourth point involves issues concerning corruption and good governance. Better understanding must be created between local administrative organizations and the agencies responsible for monitoring their performance. The objective is to enhance the effectiveness and transparency of local administration.

The Prime Minister said that he believed in the potential of local organizations and communities for strengthening Thai society, which would help solve problems effectively in response to local needs and help ease social conflicts as a whole.
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