HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

The 5th Industrial Fair to be held from Jan 28 – Feb 6

Loan center for disaster victims opened

Nurseries to be built in industrial estates

The 5th Industrial Fair to be held from Jan 28 – Feb 6

Should bring in 7 million baht says organizer

Saksit Meesubkwang

Industrial Promotion Center, Region 1 in cooperation with Chiang Mai private enterprise is going to arrange the 5th Industrial Fair at the Industrial Promotion Center from January 28 to February 6.

Saroj Rattanawadee (3rd right), chairman of the Industrial Promotion Council, Northern Region, and Banjong Paisarnteerakorn, chairman of the 5th Industrial Fair Organization (3rd right) at the press conference.

The dates and other details were announced at the press conference held on January 6 by Saroj Rattanawadee, chairman of the Industrial Promotion Council, Northern Region; Banjong Paisarnteerakorn, chairman of the 5th Industrial Fair Organization; Siriporn Tantipong, chairman of the Fair’s Public Relations Division; Thanee Triwattanawong, the HINO dealer representative; and Prakit Wangpat, director of the TT&T Upper Northern Region.

So far, an estimated 300 industrial entrepreneurs in Chiang Mai have signed up for the fair, said Saroj. Since the country’s GDP in 2004 has increased by 50 percent, because of growth in the industrial sectors, the Industrial Fair will be arranged to promote SMEs and bring further industrial advancement. Although Chiang Mai is a small industrial province, its SMEs are outstanding and can be promoted to international markets, said Saroj.

Saroj estimates 10,000 people would visit the fair and circulate approximate 5-7 million baht.

Loan center for disaster victims opened

The Thai government has opened a one-shop center to help disaster victims with financial support. Disaster victims in the six coastal provinces hit by the tsunami can seek loans or debt relief through the center, from state-owned financial institutions like the Bank for Agriculture and Cooperatives (BAAC), Krung Thai Bank, said the vice minister of Finance, Dr. Veerachai Veerametheekul, who opened the center.

Dr. Veerachai urged people whose businesses or employment had been wrecked by the tsunami to visit the center to consult specialists there on financial and practical matters. The BAAC is ready to lend ten billion baht to existing clients and others in the affected areas, the bank’s president, Teerapong Tungteeranun said.

The Krung Thai Bank’s board scheduled a meeting to authorize branch managers in the six provinces to lend up to forty million baht, according to its vice president Dusit Tengniyom. Under this new facility, credit will be extended on special terms to disaster victims. Branch managers will be able to fast-track approval for applications without the usual rigorous screening of credit history.

Dusit admitted that the disaster may aggravate the bank’s non-performing loans portfolio, as many clients affected by the disaster simply cannot repay their debts. However, he said he believed that when their businesses were re-established, these clients would try hard to repay the loans. (TNA)

Nurseries to be built in industrial estates

Nurseries will be built in industrial estates across Thailand to provide care for young children of low-income laborers.

Another 30 industrial estates in the country will have new nurseries this year under a joint ministerial child welfare program, the permanent secretary for Labor, Charupong Ruangsuwan, recently announced. There are already 66 nurseries in industrial estates and large construction sites across the country.

Under the program, the provision of child care should allow their parents to work efficiently, without worrying about the children. Conditions in more than 16,000 existing nurseries will also be improved under the child-welfare development scheme, Charupong said.

The program is a join project involving the Ministries of Labor, Interior, Education, Public Health, and Social Development and Human Security.

A women’s rights activist, Wilaiwan Sae-Tia has urged the government to be flexible and admit children registered in different areas to attend the nurseries. Nurseries should also be allowed to operate at odd hours to accommodate children whose parents are working overtime, she suggested. Representatives of laborers should also be allowed to take part in operating these nurseries, Wilaiwan added. (TNA)