50 Percent Kickbacks Required to Win a Project

Private sector to stop offering bribes – Bangkok Post, May 19, 2011
…Mr Dusit said business operators have to pay under-the-table kickbacks to people in power amounting to as much as 50 per cent of the cost of a project if they want to win a contract. This compares to the 2 or 3 per cent demanded 20 or 30 years ago…

[2015 note: Like many Thai newspaper articles from just a few years ago, this article is no longer online. Below is the complete text of the original article.]

Private sector to stop offering bribes for contracts
Published: 19/05/2011 at 05:26 PM

Twenty-one private organisations have formed a network to fight against the corruption which now plagues the country more seriously than ever before, Thai Chamber of Commerce chairman Dusit Nontanakorn said on Thursday.

Mr Dusit said business operators have to pay under-the-table kickbacks to people in power amounting to as much as 50 per cent of the cost of a project if they want to win a contract. This compares to the two or three per cent demanded 20 or 30 years ago.

Giving and taking bribes is tantamount to plundering the nation, because every baht from the state’s coffers should be spent for the country’s development, he said.

“What is worrying is that the Thai people think corruption is acceptable. This thinking is very dangerous. If this is allowed to continue, Thailand will collapse sometime in the future,” Mr Dusit said.

He said the anti-graft network has been set up by 21 private organisations – including the Thai Chamber of Commerce, Thai Bankers Association, Securities and Exchange of Thailand and Federation of Thai Capital Markets.

The network will on June 1 declare an end to “offering bribes”.

Corruption involves both offering and taking bribes, he said. Refusing to offer bribes is a starting point and will make corruption more difficult, Mr Dusit said.

He said the network will organise a seminar with the theme “Opposed to Corruption – a Turning Point of Thailand” on June 1, during the lead-up to the July 3 election.

This may serve as a warning to politicians who volunteer to represent the people in parliament to end corrupt practices, because the private sector will stop making offers, Mr Dusit said.

The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) chairman Payungsak Chartsutthipol said the private sector’s biggest wish is that the new government should show leadership skills and an ability to coordinate with all political groups to bring about reconciliation.

Mr Payungsak said the new government must focus on creating national unity immediately after the general election because the private sector wants the country to move forward.

“The new administration must have good economic policies, especially those relating to the daily minimum wage of workers,” he said.

In addition, the new government must give special attention to inflation issues, as many other countries were now facing the problem of surging inflation,.

Even though Thailand’s inflation rate is now below three per cent, the government must keep a close watch on it, he said.

The FTI chairman said if the economy is good, people’s living standards will also improve. The government then will have more tax revenue to be used for the country’s development.

Asked about the populist policies proposed by several political parties, Mr Payungsak suggested there should be great care in properly implementing such policies, as they would affect most people.

Populist policies should remain in place only for a suitable period of time. If they continued too long the market mechanism could be distorted, he said.

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