[UPDATE-1] Former transport minister set to take over finance portfolio

Former transport minister, Arkom Termpittayapaisith, has been appointed as the new finance minister, the Royal Gazette announced on Monday.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha has handed in the new list of cabinet members for a royal endorsement last Friday with Arkom tipped to take the vacant Minister of Finance position.

The post has been vacant following the controversial and high-profile resignation of Finance Minister Predee Daochai in August after less than a month in office.

Several high-profile bankers and economists have rejected to take over the post because of the dire nature of the economy and the political infighting that had pushed out Predee, according to multiple sources.

The rejections by the technocrat community mean that the position has been vacant for over a month at a time when the economy is struggling from the coronavirus pandemic. A World Bank report released this week said that Thailand’s economy will contract the most in Asia.

Arkom previously ran the transport ministry under the coup government where he wisely halted talks with China on a high-speed rail program after Beijing asked for unfavourable interest rates.

The Williams College graduate will need to display the same discipline and frugality if he is to steer the economy back on track, no small task given the continued lockdown of the country and the subsequent lack of tourism revenue.

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