Revenue department wants to encourage taxpayers to enter the system voluntarily
The cabinet has approved a rearrangement of the Finance
Ministry geared to develop the capabilities of the authorities under the
ministry’s supervision. The government has set up three plans for the
department; improvement of the tax system, an e-revenue project and the
development of human resources and organization.
The government wants to bring the tax system into line
with national development strategies, in particular, replacing audits for
past payment by an emphasis on current and future tax collection to reduce
the tax assessment procedure.
The revenue department wants to encourage taxpayers who
are not currently paying tax to join the system voluntarily. It is thought
that if the tax authorities are more reasonable and tax payers are assured
of fairness in tax administration, more taxpayers would enter the system
Consumer confidence index continued to drop in October
According to a recent report put out by the University of
Chamber of Commerce’s Economic and Business Forecasting Center, the
consumer confidence index in October dropped for the second consecutive
month. This signals that consumers are becoming uncertain about the local
Thanawat Polachai, director of the center, said its
survey showed the consumer confidence index on the country’s economy,
employment opportunity and future income had declined to 82.2, 71.8 and
103.6 from 84.9, 74.2, and 154 respectively in September.
Thanawat said, “The decrease in the confidence index
for two months in a row has us worried. We believe the fall is caused by
fears of global economic uncertainty and a possible war between the United
States and Iraq, as well as lower interest rates locally and in the US.”
He said these factors have lessened people’s confidence in consumption and
caused them to spend more cautiously.
Thanawat recommended that government should try to boost
the public confidence if the war breaks out. It must also continue to adopt
monetary and fiscal policies for solving economic problems. He projected the
country’s economy will grow around 4% this year and continue to expand
around 4.2% next year.
Thailand’s export is expected to grow 4.8% this year
and 4% next year with inflation staying at 0.5% and 1.5% respectively. (TNA)
TAMC proposals due early next year may have solutions for local steel industry
According to a recent statement by Finance Minister
Somkid Jatusripitak, the Thai Asset Management Corp plans to finalize a
restructuring plan for the steel industry by early 2003.
A team of TAMC executives, led by managing director
Somjate Moosirilert, will oversee the study and draft measures aimed to
increase productivity and cooperation within the industry. A number of steel
companies are under supervision by the TAMC which is a state agency
established to restructure hundreds of billions of baht in bad loans.
Dr Somkid said mergers within the steel industry could
help ease the long-standing problems of excess capacity and high debt.
“The Siam Cement Group and NTS Steel have already merged. The rest of the
operators could also merge, since their debt is still in the hands of the
government,” he said.
Dr. Somkid added that TAMC will push for consolidation in
the industry. The government wants the steel industry to use its capacity
efficiently and bring in new technology.
Millennium Steel Co was established early this year
through a merger of Siam Cement Group’s two steel units; Siam Iron and
Steel and Siam Construction Steel, and NTS Steel Plc.
Chartsiri Sophonpanich, president of Bangkok Bank and
head of the Thai Bankers’ Association, has also been asked to help draft a
restructuring framework for the industry. (TNA)
Thailand’s exports expected to total over US$68.2 billion this year
Thailand’s total exports are likely to exceed US$68.2
at the end of this year, thanks to the steady increase in exports over the
past three months, according to Commerce Minister Adisai Bodharamik.
Adisai said that the Ministry of Commerce would do an
upward adjustment of its estimate of the country’s export growth this year
to 4.5-5.0%, from the earlier forecast of 3.5%. The country’s exports were
expected to grow 4.5-5.0% next year, he projected. (TNA)
Global fuel prices likely to stay low over next few months
The National Energy Policy Office (NEPO) is projecting
that world oil prices will continue to stay low over the next few months
given Iraq’s acceptance of the United Nations’ tough resolution on
disarmament and excessive oil production by the Organization of Petroleum
Export Countries (OPEC).
Deputy Prime Minister Prommin Lertsuriyadej, in his
capacity as chairman of the NEPO committee, said the body met to assess the
situation on fuel prices in the past eight months. In the NEPO’s view if
Iraq respects the UN resolution this cooperation will contribute to the
decrease in global oil prices and those in Thailand.
However, should the situation worsen and the war breaks
out, the Thai government already has a contingency plan with the oil
reserves sufficient for consumption for at least 53 days.
Metha Bantherngsuk, director of the Energy Planning and
Policy Office, said Baghdad’s softening stance and the excess oil output
of 2 million barrels by OPEC had brought world oil prices down. This could
be witnessed by the fall in Dubai oil prices by one US dollar to US$22 per
barrel last week. That level was the lowest in the basket of fuel prices
adopted by OPEC at the range of US$22-28 a barrel.
However, Metha acknowledged that Iraq’s position must
be closely monitored. Should Baghdad fail to cooperate in disarmament, war
might erupt and oil prices could soar again. (TNA)
Buy Thai - PM urges people to purchase
community products as New Year gifts
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is urging Thai people
to support the ‘One Village, One Product’ scheme by giving community
products as New Year presents. The Thai leader said that by supporting
fellow Thais, citizens would not only help expand the domestic market but
also spur economic activities. He said the people involved in these projects
need encouragement from within the nation.
Thaksin said, “Villagers who are producing various
community products under the government’s ‘One Village, One Product’
scheme need the backing of their fellow citizens. The New Year is the
perfect time to support these people by choosing their products to give as
gifts to friends and relatives. This will not only help them to develop
their small enterprises but will boost the nation’s economy at the
grass-roots level.” (TNA)
Cassava export to China looks promising
Thailand’s export of cassavas has promising prospects
in terms of volume and value now that China has become a major buyer of the
product as a raw material for paper production.
Tosapol Tantiwong, chairman of Sa-nguanwong Industry Co,
the country’s largest cassava exporter said export has improved so
significantly that at present the supply of the product cannot not meet the
China has replaced the European Union and Japan as the
major purchaser of cassavas from Thailand. The product is used as a raw
material for the paper industry, which has expanded in tandem with the
country’s economic growth. Some cassava is also used to produce alcohol.
Given the improved development the cassava export is
expected to increase by 10% from that of last year. More importantly, local
growers will enjoy higher product prices. The export of cassavas to the EU
as a raw material for animal feed has declined because more is being shipped
to China where product prices are higher. (TNA)
Krung Thai Credit Card forced to reject applicants
As a result of the Bank of Thailand’s recent decision
to curb interest rates and reintroduce minimum salary requirements, Krung
Thai Credit Card (KTC) said it has been forced to reject many applicants.
KTC director Niwat Jittalarn said that the company will
have to focus more on the expansion of personal loans which currently has no
On November 7th of this year, The Finance Ministry and
the Bank of Thailand (BOT) confirmed plans to impose a minimum salary
requirement for acquiring credit cards as well as a ceiling on the interest
that card issuers can charge.
BOT Governor Pridiyathorn Devakula said that the new rule
requiring a minimum monthly salary of 15,000 baht and an 18 % cap on annual
interest charges will help prevent credit card defaults and avoid a debt
crisis among low wage income earners.
The central bank’s move has prompted both foreign banks
and non-bank credit card issuers to move in the same direction with KTC,
trying to earn more income from personal loan provision schemes.
A senior management executive at Standard Chartered
Nakornthon Bank admitted that the new BOT regulations have affected the
bank’s credit card business. “Credit card services have high operating
costs since we do not have as many branches as local commercial banks. We
have to hire marketing teams at higher rates. Huge amounts were spent in
various marketing campaigns and promotions in order to offer more privileges
to our clients,” he said. “In the meantime, we may have to trim
marketing and promotion campaign budgets and emphasize personal loan
programs which have higher rate of return,” he added. (TNA)
Japanese architect of ‘One Village One Product’ program visits Thailand
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his ministers
hosted a welcoming dinner for Japan’s Oita Governor Morihiko Hiramatsu,
who made an official visit to Thailand on November 17th. Morihiko is
recognized as the architect of the One-Village One-Product program in Japan.
He has pioneered the scheme since 1979 until Japan managed to develop
community products and allow local people to earn an annual income of US$
27,000 per capita.
Government Spokesman Sqn Ldr Sitha Tivaree said the Thai
premier took the opportunity to thank the Oita governor and exchanged views
with him about ways to successfully implement the program. Thaksin wanted to
know how to help local communities to ensure sustainable economic
Thaksin had a discussion with Morihiko regarding
strategies to distribute community products in the market through
information technology. Currently, Internet services have reached 7,000
villages nationwide where 1,500 kinds of products are available. The premier
also discussed ways to implement the village fund policy. (TNA)
Plans being made for Thai silk, leatherwear and the tuk tuk to gain international renown
Thailand is planning to promote 3 Thai products in the
world market to gain fame. Industry Minister Somsak Thepsutin said that the
ministry has set a policy to promote Thai silk, leatherwear, and the tuk tuk
(three-wheeled taxi) under the Thai brand name to gain recognition and
popularity at the international level, and increase the value of Thai
Concerned authorities have been instructed to facilitate
the plan which is expected to materialize in the next 90 days. Thailand will
import technology and human resources with an aim to boost the
competitiveness of the products in the world market.
“We will persuade the world’s best tannery to
establish its business in Thailand or buy technology from other countries so
that Thailand can produce high quality leatherwear,” said Somsak.
As for Thai silk, Somsak said that, initially, Thailand
will hire world class designers to develop patterns for Thai silk clothes
and will promote Thai silk as the world’s best silk.
Somsak added that the government will implement the plan
to export the tuk tuk, called ‘Chai Yo’ in collaboration with Toyota
Motor Co. Thailand, which has agreed to help develop technology in
manufacturing small engines for the three-wheeled vehicles. (TNA)