SAMUI, August 23, 2009 – As it embarked on an ambitious stimulus spending, Thailand turned to the World Bank for advice on how to fast track the spending coupled with proper management controls to keep programs on the rails. The government also sought counsel on which World Bank financial products might complement its efforts to curb the crisis.
Rich and open discussion thrived during the two-day “Collaboration for a Stronger Thailand” workshop in July, co-hosted by the Bank and the Ministry of Finance. The discussions marked the official beginning of interim cooperation to help Thailand cope with the immediate impact of the global slowdown.
For Thai officials still unfamiliar with World Bank operations, this workshop offered a glimpse into what the Bank can do for member countries in times of crisis. In addition to technical and financial support, the Bank’s global experience and networks can help Thai policy-makers learn from other countries what to do or avoid in their own stimulus program.
Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij's opening remarks set the tone of the meeting. “I don’t think we can underestimate the challenges we face” in implementing the 1.5 trillion baht economic stimulus program over the next three years, he said. “And with the help of the World Bank, we like to find ways to do it efficiently, with greater transparency, and with as little waste or leakage as possible.”