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Thai Government pledges to reduce living cost

Boris Sullivan

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Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has promised that the government will try to bring living cost down after it has cut oil prices. However, she confirms that the government will still support people to use gasohol.

Speaking about some consumer goods whose prices remain the same despite the reduced oil prices, Ms Yingluck stated that the reduction is only the beginning of efforts to curb consumer prices. She said her deputy Kittirat Na Ranong will seek talks with many entrepreneurs to seek cooperation on the issue.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra

Asked if the government will order the private sector to comply with its demand or not after some private bus operators still refuse to cut bus fare, the prime minister responded that she preferred to use negotiations while prices of some products must be floated according to the market mechanism.

Regarding the policy to increase the difference between benzene and gasohol prices to support alternative energy, Ms Yingluck responded that the government actually wants to support gasohol in the long term, but so far, the oil price structure had not been allowed to develop according to the market mechanism.

The prime minister explained that three types of oil now have their prices reduced, but the true objective of the government is to reduce living cost for people; therefore, several strategies will be used to adjust product prices in line with the market mechanism.

Ms Yingluck reaffirmed that the government will support people to use gasohol. Asked if the government will cut gasohol prices, she replied that it is possible as Energy Minister Pichai Naripthaphan and Finance Minister Thirachai Phuvanatnaranubala will bring the issue to the cabinet.

via PM: Govt to bring living cost down further : National News Bureau of Thailand.

Pheu Thai-led government cut in Oil Fund levies to stem rising cost of living.

But questions have risen concerning the consequences and the long term viability of such populist policy.

In return for a boost to consumer confidence and the party’s popularity, tax cuts on pretrol is spreading public doubts about the country’s commitment to renewable energy.

As part of the alternative energy policy, since 2007 Thailand has encouraged both consumers and petrol retailers to migrate to ethanol types, called gasohol, to reduce imports

In its latest editorial, Thai Newspaper Thai Rath questions

 

We wonder whether the government has done a careful study before slashing contributions by refineries to the Oil Fund, causing prices at the pump to go down by as much as 8 baht a litre last Saturday.

According to Energy Minister Pichai Naripthaphan, contributions and value-added tax have been cut by 3 baht a litre for diesel, 7.17 baht for 91 octane petrol and 8.02 baht for 95 octane petrol.

PM Yingluck Shinawatra said the cuts were part of the government’s policy commitments announced in Parliament last week, and would help ease expenses for the public.

While the temporary price cuts are welcomed by car users, we are concerned about their impact on the country’s development of alternative fuels, particularly farmers who grow crops for bio-fuel.

Thai rath editorial

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50:50 campaign may not get immediate extension

National News Bureau of Thailand

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BANGKOK (NNT) – The government’s 50:50 co-pay campaign expiring on 31st March may not be getting an immediate campaign extension. The Minister of Finance says campaign evaluation is needed to improve future campaigns.

The Minister of Finance Arkhom Termpittayapaisith today announced the government may not be able to reach a conclusion on the extension of the 50:50 co-pay campaign in time for the current 31st March campaign end date, as evaluations are needed to better improve the campaign.

Originally introduced last year, the 50:50 campaign is a financial aid campaign for people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, in which the government subsidizes up to half the price of purchases at participating stores, with a daily cap on the subsidy amount of 150 baht, and a 3,500 baht per person subsidy limit over the entire campaign.

The campaign has already been extended once, with the current end date set for 31st March.

The Finance Minister said that payout campaigns for the general public are still valid in this period, allowing time for the 50:50 campaign to be assessed, and to address reports of fraud at some participating stores.

The Fiscal Police Office Director General and the Ministry of Finance Spokesperson Kulaya Tantitemit, said today that a bigger quota could be offered in Phase 3 of the 50:50 campaign beyond the 15 million people enrolled in the first two phases, while existing participants will need to confirm their identity if they want to participate in Phase 3, without the need to fill out the registration form.

Mrs Kulaya said the campaign will still be funded by emergency loan credit allocated for pandemic compensation, which still has about 200 billion baht available as of today.

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