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Commerce with a conscience

Government pension fund expects returns to grow 25 percent

Employers to get illegal labor amnesty

Commerce with a conscience

UK Ambassador for British Business to address Chiang Mai

The International Peace Foundation in cooperation with Chiang Mai University will bring another participant in the event series “Bridges - Dialogues towards a culture of peace” to Chiang Mai.

Dame Anita Roddick, UK Ambassador for British Business.

Dame Anita Roddick, founder of ‘The Body Shop’, will give a keynote speech at Chiang Mai University (Faculty of Business Administration) on Thursday, March 4, at 10 a.m. Her topic will be, ‘Corporate Social Responsibility and Community Trade’.

Dame Anita Roddick is founder of ‘The Body Shop’, a company with 2010 stores in 52 countries. She views business in the greater context of a world that should respect nature, animals, people and employees, for which she is one of the leaders for corporate social responsibility throughout the world.

She taught English and history, worked in the ‘Women’s Rights Department’ of the International Labor Organization in Geneva, owned and managed a restaurant and a hotel before she opened ‘The Body Shop’ in 1976 in Brighton. She believes that commerce with a conscience is not only a moral imperative but a competitive advantage. She has received numerous awards for her leading role in the business world, for her humanitarian efforts and for her engagement in environmental issues. Anita Roddick is the recipient of many honorary degrees and is the UK Ambassador for British Business. She was made a Dame of the Order of the British Empire last year.

For information and free tickets, telephone 053 943 661-5, 053 224 076 or 053 941 007, fax 05) 219 252, 053 943 666 or 053 942 666, email [email protected] or [email protected]

Government pension fund expects returns to grow 25 percent

The Government’s Pension Fund (GPF), Thailand’s largest state fund manager, said it will continue to view the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) optimistically and expects the GPF’s return on its equity investments this year to average between 25-30 percent.

Secretary-general Visit Tantisunthorn said, “The GPF plans to raise its investment in the equity market up to 17-18 percent of its total assets from 15 percent last year, while reducing this year’s investment in the bond market down to 75-78 percent from 79 percent last year. In my view, the SET still has room for future growth. The recent bird flu outbreak created fluctuations on the SET’s index, but Thailand’s overall economic fundamentals still look very healthy.”

Visit said the GPF wants to invest in state enterprises such as the Airports of Thailand Plc (AOT) and the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) which plan to go public this year. He added that GPF is also looking to purchase stocks in the financial sector.

Visit said that the GPF plans to spend about 8 billion baht on investments in local and foreign mutual funds and government bonds. In addition, the GPF is eying investment in foreign bond markets. Research has shown that managing assets in the local market may get tougher if local interest rates go up in the second half of 2004 in the face of a stronger Thai economy. (TNA)

Employers to get illegal labor amnesty

Deputy Prime Minister Bhokin Bhalakula announced that employers of illegal foreign laborers will not be prosecuted under a new plan to encourage companies to register their foreign workers.

Speculating that over 800,000 foreign laborers are probably hiding from the Thai authorities, Bhokin said that the amnesty for employers would allow the government to gain an accurate impression of the number of Lao, Myanmar and Cambodian workers in Thailand.

Under the government’s scheme, to be operated jointly by the interior and labor ministries, employers currently hiding their foreign workers will be able to take their employees to be registered, without fear of prosecution on either side.

Bhokin said, “Once the government has gained an accurate picture of the foreign labor situation, it will do everything in its powers to ensure that foreign workers start entering Thailand legally, rather than illegally, with passports and work permits.”

While police will continue to arrest foreign laborers, they will focus on cases which involve cheating, torture and human rights abuses. (TNA)