|International Best Practice in Micro and Small Enterprise Development - Working Paper 2 - Micro and Small Enterprise Development and Poverty Alleviation in Thailand - Project ILO/UNDP: THA/99/003 (ILO-ISEP - ILO - UNDP, 2000, 80 p.)|
I am pleased to see this series of working papers produced as outputs of the ILO/UNDP Micro and Small Enterprise Development and Poverty Alleviation Project in Thailand. As the UN agency with special responsibility for employment matters, the ILO is concerned about employment in all sizes of enterprises, in both the formal and informal sectors. The ILO is as much concerned about the quality, as the quantity of jobs created. This point is well amplified in the recent report on "Decent Work" by the ILO Director-General, Mr Juan Somavia.
From related studies carried out by the ILO following the financial crisis in East Asia, it is apparent that both the level of employment and the quality of employment conditions in Thailand have been adversely affected by the crisis. Consequently, the work being undertaken by this project is most timely, assessing as it does the role of micro and small enterprise (MSE) development in poverty alleviation and employment creation.
Governments are no longer expected to be the principal providers of jobs -jobs should be and are increasingly being created by successful, well-managed private sector enterprises. However, governments do have a vital role to play in ensuring that the policy environment is 'enterprise friendly'. The path into enterprise should be smooth, and entrepreneurs should be able to receive relevant advice and support (both financial and non-financial) in a highly effective manner from both government and private sector agencies. The needs of the MSE sector should be clearly identified, and linked with a better understanding of the scale and scope of the enterprise sector and its role in national development. At the same time, those employed in enterprises, the organizations that represent them, and the management of these enterprises should be able to mutually consult to ensure decent work and optimum productivity.
A broad range of important aspects of MSE development are addressed in this set of six working papers. Together they provide a substantial body of knowledge and significant inputs for policy-makers and decision-makers in Government, the private sector, those employed in enterprises, international organizations and the donor community, as well as for entrepreneurs themselves.
Given the prominence of the small and medium enterprise sector in Government policy, this information is being made available at an appropriate time. It is also highly relevant, coming as it does at a time when the ILO has recently completed a Country Employment Policy Review in Thailand, as well as providing support to make its Start and Improve Your Business (SIYB) training materials available for extensive use in Thailand.