Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Decentralization problems

Today I noticed an article from The Nation of last week titled 'Irreconcilable' powers holding on a seminar held in Bangkok on August 26. While it has no details on this seminar, the article gives some interesting quotes from participants on the state of decentralization in Thailand.

Overall, the comments collected in the article are quite negative, all having failures in the decentralization of the late 1990s which led to the creation of the Tambon administrative organizations (TAO) and increased powers to the Provincial Administrative organizations (PAO).

According to Nakharin Mektrairat (นครินทร์ เมฆไตรรัตน์)
The existing system had been established on "an old school of thought", which does not correspond with the rapid expansion and development of today's urban communities, he said.

Searching for some more information on Nakharin, I found one of his papers in English in a Japanese symposium transcript. I have only scanned the document so far and have to read in in detail. It's a pity he did not publish much in English.

Another interesting quote is from Prakaipharb Chaum (ประกายภาพ ชะอุ่ม) from the Saen Suk municipality (เทศบาลเมืองแสนสุข) in Chonburi.
[...] said local bodies were linked to national politics through the longstanding patronage system. "Budgets have been allocated to local levels by national politicians through favouritism."

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