The Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC) projects that about 5.6 per cent of the country’s small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) nationwide or about 100,000 businesses will be forced to close in the next six months following the daily minimum wage hike which took effect April 1, TCC Vice Chairman Bhumindr Harinsuit said.
Raising the daily minimum wage by 40 per cent in 70 provinces and 300 baht in seven pilot provinces will adversely impact the nation’s smaller businesses—SMEs–which employ fewer than 25 workers, accounting for 98 per cent of the country’s 2.2 million companies as the increase will affect 60 per cent of their production cost. However, it will not have a significant impact to cause unemployment as Thailand still lacks 2-3 million labourers and must import migrant workers.
According to a survey on the daily minimum wage rise, entrepreneurs supporting the higher minimum wage are those depending more on machines, so they are not much affected. Meanwhile, those who oppose the increase argued that the government has no measures to improve their workers’ work performance.
The impact of the minimum wage can be seen in security service businesses having 3-5 year employment contracts as well as construction businesses. Meanwhile, University of Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) Economic and Business Forecasting Center director Thanawat Polwichai said that consumer confidence in March improved for the fourth consecutive month.
However, the public are still concerned over the higher cost of living, rising fuel prices and political problems. Regarding Saturday’s car bomb in Songkhla’s Hat Yai business district, he said it must be assessed again but initially, it is considered as a short-term impact on a particular location and is not likely to affect the whole country. (MCOT online news) 100,000 SMEs likely to close down
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