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TDRI urges Thailand to adopt policies for longevity society before it is too late
Extend retirement age. Support labour-saving technology. Promote active ageing. Help workers learn new skills. Set up old-age insurance system. And reduce the number of conscripts to ease labour shortage.
Thailand needs to implement these measures to sustain economic growth as the country ages, urges Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI), Thailand’s independent think tank.
If not, Thailand’s economic growth risks dropping by 0.8% per year.
“We’re now living in a society where people live and stay productive much longer than ever before. We need new policies to use their skills and experiences when the number of young people is diminishing,”
Dr Somkiat Tangkitvanich, TDRI president.
Being a longevity society does not necessarily slow down the country’s economic growth if Thailand adopts right policies, said Dr Somkiat during the TDRI annual public conference “Longevity Society: Making Thailand Competitive, Healthy, and Secure” at the Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld on May 13, 2019.
To sustain productivity, the business sector needs to adopt new recruitment policy to hire the older workforce, make the workplace safe for older workers, and use more automation, robotics, software, and artificial intelligence to tackle labour shortage.
Meanwhile, people need to save early to ensure financial security in old age. They also need to learn new skills so they can work and maintain self-esteem after official retirement age.
“The state authorities, the business sector, and all of us need to prepare and act now to tackle the challenges in longevity society,” said Dr Somkiat.
Apart from keeping older people in the workforce, a team of TDRI researchers stressed the need for state policies to promote active ageing. They include accessible and safe city infrastructure and public transport systems, more public green space, health insurance system for the elderly, and measures to help workers learn new skills before and after retirement due to rapid technological changes.
How to make it happen?
First understand the new reality and see its potential, said Dr Somkiat Tangkitvanich.
Older but healthier
Thanks to better healthcare, Thais live 4.4 years more each year during the past six decades, he said. At present, Thailand’ average life expectancy is 75 years. Given the constantly improving health technology, people born in 2016 are expected to live until 80-98 years on an average, if technology progress is taken into consideration.
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