BAAC cuts lending rates for farmers
The Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC)
said it would cut its lending rates for local farmers, as well as farmers
organizations and agricultural institutes by 0.50%, taking effect as of the
1st of August.
Deputy Finance Minister Varathep Ratanakorn, who chairs
the BAAC’s board, said, “The move is intended to help reduce costs for
local farmers and their related institutes by a total of 1.35 billion baht
Varathep projected that the decision would benefit over
5.27 million households of farmers nationwide. (TNA)
Thai economy expected to follow global growth trend
The Thai economy is expected to continue to grow in the
second half of this year, boosted by a reviving global economy. Visut
Srisuphan, Director-General of the Fiscal Policy Office (FPO), who chaired
the 16th Finance Ministers’ Technical Working Group Meeting of the
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, held in Thailand last month said,
“During our discussions, representatives of the World Bank, the
International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank agreed that the
world economy would gradually revive in the second half of this year.
Therefore the Thai economy should continue to grow in the July-December
period, as it would be boosted by the positive global trend.”
However, Visut cautioned that the world economy could
also face some risks and threats, namely rising interest rates due to global
economic expansion, and international terrorism. (TNA)
EGAT to purchase power from Laos to meet future demand
The government has approved a power purchasing agreement
with Laos that will enable Vientiane to go ahead with the construction of
the giant Nam Theun 2 dam.
Thailand’s Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand
(EGAT) has agreed to sign the deal with the Nam Theun 2 Power Company (NTPC)
located in the Lao capital.
An EGAT official said, “Thai power demands are steadily
increasing and the purchase price is cheaper in Laos than here in Thailand.
The new deal will increase power supply in 17 of Thailand’s northeastern
provinces from 2009, when the plant will begin providing nearly 950mw to
Thailand under a 25-year arrangement. This agreement will also reduce impact
on Thailand’s environment.” (TNA)
Strategies being created to boost economies of neighboring countries
The Prime Minister’s Office has announced that
strategies will be drawn up aimed at expanding the economies of neighboring
countries, with increased trade, investment and development assistance and
will expect to see positive results in the next three years.
Spokesman for the office, Sqd. Ldr. Sita Divari said that
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra had called a meeting of ministers
concerned with the economy to discuss border economic policies. The plans
will aim at expanding the economies of Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia in line
with that of Thailand, as Thailand’s gross domestic product (GDP) stood at
5.5 trillion baht, compared to only 500 million baht in the case of
The government also hopes to rectify the situation in
which per capita income in Thailand is as high as 80,000 baht, compared to a
mere 12,000 baht in Cambodia and 14,000 baht in Laos and Myanmar.
Policies will include a reduction in trade barriers, the
transfer of technology, labor skills development, and the joint production
of goods, in particular of raw materials.
The government also wants to engage in urgent talks to
cut taxes, amend border control regulations and those concerning investment,
end border disputes, and conduct joint research and development. (TNA)
OTOP products fail to meet standards
The government’s much-trumpeted ‘One Tambon, One
Product’ (OTOP) campaign has run into difficulties with the revelation
that 65 percent of the goods selected as showcase products will need
modification before they can be launched onto the market.
After opening an exhibition of OTOP products from the
central region, Deputy Interior Minister Pracha Maleenont, who chairs the
OTOP products champion selection committee, said that while around 25,000
products had been submitted to act as OTOP showcase products, only 33
percent of them had gained 3-5 stars, indicating that they could be
developed for domestic and export sales.
The remaining products had only gained 1-2 stars,
signaling that they failed to meet required quality standards. The minister
added that he would now submit information on the products to the production
sub-committee and the standards and quality development sub-committee in
order to improve the products in question.
Chaisit Hotrakit, director general of the Department of
Community Development, said that once all the OTOP products had been
selected, the baton would be passed on to the Ministry of Commerce to
promote the marketing of the products both at home and abroad.
Over 2,700 products from 25 provinces in the central
region passed the OTOP selection process, of which over 2,000 products in
six categories - food, beverages, household goods and decorations, herbs,
artistic inventions, and fabrics and clothing - gained 3-5 stars. A
selection of 109 products from the central region have been selected by the
Department of Export Promotion to be displayed at the Asia Pacific Economic
Cooperation (APEC) meeting on small and medium enterprises (SME’s) in
Chiangmai in August and the APEC leaders meeting in Bangkok in October. (TNA)