Somkid given reins to economy

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak has been given full authority by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to drive all the key ministries in charge of the economy.

The job assignments for six deputy premiers on Tuesday saw Gen Prayut hand seven ministries to Mr Somkid, including the Foreign Affairs and Transport ministries.

Mr Somkid additionally was ordered to oversee the Finance, Agriculture and Cooperatives, Commerce, Science and Technology, and Industry, ministries, government spokesman Maj Gen Sansern Kaewkumnerd said.

The only two economy-related agencies outside his purview are the Energy, and Information and Communication Technology ministries.

The ICT, which was under former deputy prime minister MR Pridiyathorn Devakula before he was dropped from the cabinet, is now handled by Deputy Prime Minister ACM Prajin Juntong. He also is in charge of the Energy and Education ministries, plus the Thailand Research Fund.

Deputy Prime Minister and former foreign minister Gen Tanasak Patimapragorn will look after the Tourism and Sports, and Culture ministries.

Another deputy, ACM Narong Pipatanasai, oversees the Social Development and Human Security, and Public Health ministries, as well as the Consumer Protection Board.

The work for deputy prime ministers Prawit Wongsuwon and Wissanu Krea-Ngam remains unchanged. Gen Prawit has responsibility for security and Mr Wissanu is in charge of legal affairs for the government.

The prime minister chaired the first meeting of his new lineup on Tuesday and stressed a clearer direction on investment projects, principally on infrastructure works and fostering economic ties with local and foreign investors.

All priority projects, including high-speed trains, double-track rail lines and new motorways, need to see progress by the end of this year, including their financial sources, Gen Prayut said after the meeting.