PM calls for a quick solution against rising energy costs

Date:

The Prime Minister has met his advisor team and discussed economic woes stemming from the global fuel price hike and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha instructed officials to quickly find solutions to alleviate people’s hardship from rising energy costs. These may include more subsidies for fuel, cooking gas, and power bills.

General Prayut also ordered authorities to look into establishing a unit to help people manage debts, preventing them from losing essential assets, such as houses and cars.

The Prime Minister said his administration is urgently expediting its mega projects, to increase the economic activities. These programs include initiatives in the Eastern Economic Corridors, infrastructure projects, and railways construction projects, to name a few.

The Eastern Economic Corridor is a special economic zone of three provinces in eastern Thailand. Collectively, these provinces occupy an area of 13,266 km2 (5,122 sq mi), and in 2016 had an estimated population of over 2.8 million.

The zone was established on 17 January 2017, at the direction of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), with the mission of promoting economic integration across the (Eastern seaboard). The first law of the EEC is the Eastern Special Development Zone Act, proclaimed on 15 May 2019.

The Royal Thai Government has laid out a
20-Year Strategy for Thailand to achieve high-income status by 2036.
The strategy includes a wide range of top-down initiatives, especially in infrastructure
and people development, to transform Thailand into a nation that can compete
against wealthier, more knowledge-based economies.

The government calls the strategy “Thailand 4.0”, taking a cue from the concept of
“Industry 4.0” aimed at transforming the country into an innovative, value-based
industry, with an emphasis on 12 fields such as automation and robotics,
aviation and logistics, biofuel and biochemicals, and digital.

The Russian attack on Ukraine will push up global energy prices as the countries are major producers of commodities and fossil fuels, playing crucial roles in the global supply chains of such goods. With this scenario, the Thai economy could face a higher inflation rate, said senior BoT director Chayawadee Chai-Anant.

The advisor team also said that the government should try to maintain the Thai currency value at between 32.5 baht and 33.5 baht per US dollar, to keep the inflation rate at bay and maintain stability in the export sector.

The administration should also consider alternative export routes, as shipping companies are now avoiding Russian and Ukrainian waters, said the advisor team.

Goods will have to be rerouted through other nations to reach either country. The team also predicted shortages of shipping containers and suggested the administration negotiate a transit agreement with China to mitigate the impact. The advisors also recommend exploring new shipping routes with the Eurasian Economic Union.

Mirko Bennardo
Author: Mirko Bennardo

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