Government to develop
integrated logistics system
The Thai government is determined to develop a
comprehensive logistics system in preparation for trade liberalisation,
according to Finance and Deputy Prime Minister Surapong Suebwonglee.
Delivering a keynote speech on “Thailand’s Logistics Policy and Trade
Liberalisation,” he said he was worried about the development of the
country’s basic infrastructure. Thailand is currently ranked 48th among 55
countries for the basic infrastructure development as it has not yet been
able to create an integrated system of logistics.
Up to 86 per cent of the country’s cargo transfers rely on land transport,
with only 2 per cent distributed by the rail system.
At present, Thailand’s transport cost is as high as Bt1.2 trillion, and oil
consumption for transport reaches Bt800 billion or 10 per cent of the gross
domestic product (GDP).
However, Surapong said the government is attempting to forge ahead with
development of a large-scale transport system. In particular, it has
developed transport routes linking with Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam.
Dr. Surapong said the government would also count on information and
communication technology to develop a rail system that links land, seaborne
and airborne transports. (TNA)
Govt’s incentives insufficient for E85 cars made in Thailand
Fourteen car manufacturers in Thailand have delivered their assessment
that the Thai government’s measures and incentives are still not
attractive enough to induce manufacturers to produce E85 vehicles in the
Kingdom, said Deputy Prime Minister and Industry Minister Suwit
Khunkitti last week.
Suwit said his ministry would ask the manufacturers what added measures
they wanted in a bid to enable the country to become a hub for
alternative energies for automobiles. The government is going all out to
encourage more motorists to switch to using E85, a blend of 85 per cent
ethanol and 15 per cent gasoline.
Last Tuesday, the cabinet gave a green light to exempt import tariffs on
E85 car parts as well as lowering excise taxes for E85-powered cars.
According to Suwit, the manufacturers also said they would continue to
concentrate on manufacturing eco-cars, but that the government plan to
promote manufacturing E85-powered cars would not affect their
Currently, six eco-car projects have received Board of Investment’s
privileges. Combined production is estimated at 800,000 units in the
next six to seven years which would make Thailand an important
production base for energy-saving cars.
Suwit said his ministry would soon meet again with all 14 producers to
lay out a long-term automotive industry pilot plan, designed to make
Thailand a significant passenger car production hub, apart from being a
one-tonne pickup truck hub. (TNA)
FTI urges Thai govt
to help reduce cost of living
The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) has urged the government to help
lower the public’s cost of living, which has been battered by soaring
global oil prices and locally increased inflation.
FTI chairman Santi Vilassakdanont said the Thai economy is now
confronted by several negative factors including a sharp increase of New
York crude to US$139 per barrel, Thai inflation in May which rose to 7.6
per cent and the recent increases in deposit and lending interest rates
of commercial banks.
Some businesses are now reluctant to ask for loans from commercial
banks, especially those focusing on goods manufactured for the Thai
market, as consumers have slowed their spending, Santi said.
“The outlook of the Thai economy towards the end of the second quarter
until the third quarter isn’t bright while economic growth this year
isn’t expected to reach the projected 6 per cent. Growth is expected to
be about 5 per cent only,” he said.
Santi proposed that the government should introduce measures to help
lower expenses for the people, such as distribution of food coupons for
certain groups, as is done in some other countries, and holding fairs to
sell goods inexpensively. (TNA)
Govt agrees to raise sugar price
Those with a sweet tooth who prefer to put plenty of sugar in their
coffee might start having to think twice and become sugar-free, after
the government agreed to increase sugar price by 5 Baht per kilogram.
The government’s decision will likely have a grave effect on consumers
and sweetmeat sellers.
A sweetmeat vendor said “Obviously our production cost has risen. We
have less profit.”
Although the sugar price hike has caused trouble for sellers, it has
great benefit not only for sugarcane growers —who have suffered from low
prices for many years — but also the Bank for Agriculture and
Agricultural Coopperatives or BAAC.
“As currently the BAAC has subsidised 24 billion baht to help with
sugarcane farming, each increased 5 Baht per kilogram of sugar sold will
go to BAAC. It is estimated it will take 5 years for BAAC to clear
existing debts,” said Akachai Ariyamongkonchai Deputy Secretary General
Cane Planters Association For Zone 7.
For sugarcane growers, the price rise is as high as 700 to 807 baht per
ton. Still, they cannot break even. One rai can grow a maximum of 12
tons of cane, which means that the most income that can be gained per
rai is 9,684 Baht. The growing cost is high, at 10,000 baht per rai,
especially when chemical products and other materials cost more due to
the oil price hike.
Anchalee Chamnongkol, a sugarcane grower said, “It’s great that the
government has increased the sugar price but it can’t cover our growing
Raising the sugar price alone might not be enough if the government
wants to ensure sugarcane growers a better living in the long run. Plans
to improve sugarcane output and quality are still vital. (TNA)