ICT maps out digital future
The government is creating two new departments under the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Ministry as part of a policy to bring all industrial sectors into the digital economy and boost economic growth.
The Digital Economic Development Department and the Digital Social Development Department will develop and carry out policies that support the digital economy and identify the roles of the state and the private sector, said Manoo Ordeedolchest, a member of a working committee responsible for transforming the ICT Ministry.
The panel, formed in July and chaired by deputy prime minister MR Pridiyathorn Devakula, includes several ICT experts: Mr Manoo, former president of the Software Industry Promotion Agency; Thaweesak Koanantakool, president of the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA); Pairash Thajchayapong, former president of the NSTDA; Kosol Petchsuwan, honorary president of the Telecommunications Association of Thailand; and former ICT minister Sittichai Pokaiya-udom.
Mr Manoo said the government will also set up a new commission, chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, to govern 10 ministries and enhance cooperation among all sectors.
The transformation is likely to begin in early 2015 after laws related to the process are approved by the National Legislative Assembly.
The government has assigned related agencies to draft new ministerial laws with the goal of transforming the ICT Ministry into one of the "economic ministries".
Mr Manoo said the planned draft, which the government has approved in principle, will be overseen by the prime minister and representatives of the 10 ministries.
Mr Kosol acknowledged that folding the country's telecommunications and IT systems into an integrated infrastructure would be a challenge for the working committee.
"But we believe the committee can achieve its goals in the first year of operations," he said.
The ICT Ministry aims to improve the ranking of Thailand's telecom network readiness from 74th last year to 34th in 2015.