A working committee of the Commerce Ministry proposes a plan to allow more employment of foreign workers to solve labour shortages in computer and electronics manufacturing.
The problem has contributed to a significant drop in exports this year.
The International Trade Promotion Department reported that exports of computers and parts fell by 8.81 per cent to US$7.28 billion (Bt225 billion) in the first five months of this year, while the export of electronic circuits declined slightly by 0.65 per cent to $2.68 billion.
The ministry said there was an urgent need to promote more exports from the computer sector as it represents one of the Kingdom’s major products.
The decline in shipments is due mainly to shortages of skilled labour in more than 50 per cent of the industries, it claimed.
To solve the problem, the ministry proposes that Thailand sign memoranda of understanding with other countries to supply labour to Thailand. The ministry also wants the government to encourage Thai skilled labour working overseas to come home and work for domestic industries.
More young Thais should also be encouraged to study the necessary skills in vocational schools, it said.
Currently, the ratio of students educated in regular and vocational schools is 60:40. The ratio should be made 50:50 to support the manufacturing sector.
Private enterprise should also increase income levels for skilled workers.
The Office of the Vocational Education Commission is expected to increase by 5,000 per year the number of vocational students in industries such as food processing, automobiles, electronics, garments, and footwear.
Moreover, the ministry aims to tackle the problem of sluggish economic growth in the European Union and the United States, which is causing lower shipments to those markets. The plan is to promote more shipments to emerging markets including India, the Middle East, Asean, and Russia.
The ministry will promote research and development for electronic circuitry and computer packaging to reduce local logistic costs.