Finance Ministry to propose
short-term economic measures
With a series of economic problems knocking at the door,
the Finance Ministry is preparing to submit proposed short-term measures to
jumpstart the economy to the country’s new finance minister, a senior
ministry official said on Thursday.
Fiscal Policy Office director-general Somchai Sajjapong said an additional
budget of Bt100 billion approved by the outgoing government is expected to
be disbursed in March, but that it should also be used to help laid-off
workers and simultaneously create new jobs.
The additional budget was meant for the 2009 fiscal year, beginning October
1, 2008, but it should also be allocated to assist tourism and small- and
medium-sized enterprises, Somchai said.
The new government, he said, should also more quickly create more liquidity
in the system to persuade private commercial banks and state financial
institutions to offer credit.
On a proposal to reduce personal income tax with an aim to boost the
economy, Somchai said the proposal must be studied carefully because it
could hurt financial discipline.
The same observation also applied to another proposal calling for a
reduction of the value added tax to 4 percent from the present 7 percent
because if it does not help boost consumption, the government would lose
revenue of around Bt60 billion for every 1 percent in the reduction
annually, he said.
And if corporate and personal income taxes were also to be reduced, the
government must raise excise taxes on fuel, alcoholic drinks and tobacco in
order to compensate for the lost revenue, Somchai added. (TNA)
UNCTAD chief urges new government to act boldly
Thailand’s new government should act decisively to
restore confidence in the country’s trade and investment sectors, United
Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) secretary-general
Supachai Panitchpakdi asserted.
Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi.
He said the Thai economy remains sound, despite the fact that lesser numbers
of foreign tourists are traveling to Thailand due to the recent political
However, more Thai people are now traveling locally, he said, adding that
Thailand’s investment outlook remains promising.
Dr. Supachai declined to respond to news reports that the Democrat Party
would invite him to become an economic advisor, saying he did not want to
comment nor criticize the expected new cabinet lineup.
He projected that the global economy would contract next year, resulting in
the economies of developed countries contracting by 0.50-0.90 percent.
However, the UNCTAD chief said he believed the overall Asian economy would
still grow at a satisfactory level though it would be affected by the global
economic slowdown because most financial institutions in Asia remain strong
with high liquidity.
Dr. Supachai projected the Asian economy would continue to grow 4-5 percent
on average in the coming year. (TNA)