ASEAN Grid project
gets green light
Prutichai Chonglertvanichkul, the Electricity Generating
Authority of Thailand’s (EGAT) assistant director for system planning and
transmission recently announced that Thailand is ready to go ahead with the
development of the ASEAN Grid project.
Prutichai said, “The AEAN Grid is a power pooling
project that will link key regional power generation sources to needy
neighboring countries. Local power plant operators can bring in bulk
revenues from selling their power to the project, while neighboring
countries that need power would no longer need to spend enormous amounts of
money to build new power plants. The project is an attempt to integrate the
power generating industry in the region.”
The project would divide the electricity transmission
linking areas into two zones. The western zone would be comprised of
Indo-china, Thailand, Malaysia, and the island of Sumatra. The eastern zone
would link Malaysia’s Borneo to Brunei, and the Philippines.
The first phase of the network linkage in the western
zone would involve transmission lines being built to connect Cambodia and
Vietnam. The next phase would involve connecting Thailand and Cambodia.
By 2008, power transmission lines would be built to
connect the Nam Thuen 2 power production project in Laos to plants in
Thailand and electric transmission lines would be built to connect Malaysia
EGAT Governor Sitthiporn Ratanopas said, “Thailand,
Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia together needed
44,000mw of electricity in 2000. The amount is estimated to be valued at 710
billion baht. In 2010, the demand for electricity among these ASEAN
countries is likely to go up 91,000mw, or an estimated value of 1.4 trillion
baht. An investment of over 50 billion US dollars is required from ASEAN
nations over the next eight years.” (TNA)
Local auto industry forecasts growth of 70 percent
Thailand expects the production of cars and pickup trucks
to increase by 70 percent by the year 2006 as companies such as Honda Motors
shift their plants here. The government has forecast production of vehicles
to top 1 million units by 2006, from 584,951 in 2002.
During a recent auto conference Manu Leopairote,
permanent secretary at the Ministry of Industry said, “Consumer spending
is fueling Thailand’s economic growth. Low lending rates and demand for
new models has driven up car sales. Production is expected to rise as more
automakers such as Toyota Motors increase their capacity by shifting their
plants to Thailand. Honda Motor, Japan’s second-biggest automaker, also
plans to shift production of some vehicles from Philippines to Thailand.”
Thailand’s new vehicle sales rose 42 percent last month
to 42,751 units, a six-month high. Toyota’s sales surged more than a third
to 15,138 units, making it Thailand’s top auto company, with a market
share of 35 percent. Isuzu Motors was the country’s second-biggest
automaker with market share of 24 percent. (TNA)
Tesco-Lotus gives nod to
Thai local products
Tesco Lotus will embrace an idea to put Thailand’s
local products from the government scheme on its shelves not only in
England, but also in other branches throughout the world. Sunthorn
Arunanondchai, Chairman of the executive board of Ekachai Distribution
System Co. Ltd. which operates the UK-based superstore in Thailand said
Tesco President Sir Terry Lehey would help promote Thai local products from
the One Tambon One Product (OTOP) project at Tesco branches worldwide.
Sir Terry Lehey recently called on Prime Minister Thaksin
Shinawatra to discuss overseas OTOP promotion and other trade matters. Tesco
has set up a specialized team to select Thai goods for selling at its
overseas retail chains. The export sale amounts to 3.0 billion baht each
Thailand also supplies plastic bags for all branches of
Tesco department store. The figure accounts for 300 baht million a year.
The prime minister asked Tesco to help improve Thai
products in order to meet the world standard. (TNA)
Government tax collection expected to hit highest level in 88 years
The government’s revenues are believed to hit the
highest recorded level in this fiscal year, as the SARS impact affected the
government’s tax collection less than 1%, according to the Revenue
Subharat Kawatkul, Director-General of the Revenue
Department, said, “Total taxes collected by the department are expected to
reach 600 billion baht in this fiscal year, which will end on September 30.
This would set a record, making it the first time in 88 years - since the
establishment of the Revenue Department - that the government’s revenues
have reached this level. (TNA)
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