News Column

ICT minister greeted with proposals

September 2, 2014

By Suchit Leesa-nguansuk, Bangkok Post, Thailand

Sept. 02--The newly appointed information and communication technology (ICT) minister has received praise from mobile and information technology businesses for his strong determination to press forward with growth in telecommunications infrastructure development.

Pornchai Rujiprapa, a former science and technology permanent secretary, has been appointed as ICT minister.

He expressed confidence he could deal with the critical transition period for TOT Plc and CAT Telecom, rescuing the ailing state telecom enterprises because he understood their situations.

Col Settapong Malisuwan, vice-chairman of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, said the regulator welcomed the new ICT minister and believed Mr Pornchai and the new cabinet were professional.

"We're ready to cooperate with the ICT Ministry and all related agencies to enhance the country's telecoms and ICT industries ? the most critical technology sectors," he said.

Jeerawut Wongpimonporn, country general manager of Lenovo Thailand, urged the new government and ICT minister to revise its tax reduction policy for the use of local ICT equipment in order to encourage companies to use locally made gears.

He said the Singaporean government allowed companies that used locally made ICT equipment to ask for tax relief on business expenses. In Malaysia, the purchase of ICT equipment and software enables a deduction claim on personal income tax returns.

Smart classrooms should be another priority for the ICT minister to enhance the country's educational system, said Mr Jeerawut.

Adirek Patitus, president of the Association of the Thai ICT Industry, said his agency would propose Mr Pornchai create an open data law to maximise data use among state agencies.

Thailand's IT market comprising up to 5,000 companies generates a combined 200 billion baht in annual revenue. The local telecom market consisting of 10 companies generates 600 billion baht.

Narong Intanate, executive chairman of IT distributor Value Systems, urged the new ICT minister to accelerate the development of knowledge workers to deal with the arrival of the Asean Economic Community late next year.

"The ICT sector should be included in the national infrastructure development plan for the next decade," he said.

Mr Pornchai said with the telecom and IT sectors integrating using network convergence, the combinations and connections across platforms require cross-industry collaboration.

Amendments of regulations and laws may be necessary to facilitate such integration, he said.


(c)2014 the Bangkok Post (Bangkok, Thailand)

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Source: Bangkok Post (Thailand)

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