Ethanol prices should
be based on MTBE
The government should set ethanol prices based mainly on
Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE) prices on the world market so that
producers can calculate costs and produce ethanol in quantities oil traders
can afford, according to Nattapol Nattasomboon, director of the National
Ethanol Commission Office. He disclosed that Thai Agro Co. was set to become
the third ethanol producer after Thai Alcohol and Pornvilai International
with a daily capacity of 120,000 liters this month.
But lately, the company remained unable to find customers
who could afford the ethanol purchase because oil companies failed to
confirm their intention to buy the alternative fuel for sale. Nattapol
stressed it was the Energy Ministry’s duty to seek an approach to press
the oil firms to bring the ethanol to mix with gasoline for sale in the form
of gasohol. “We admit we are not in a position to compel oil firms to
purchase ethanol. What we can do is to find suppliers only. It is the Energy
Ministry’s duty to set a clear policy on the matter,” he said.
Nattapol said unless Thai Agro was able to find customers
in the first phase of production, it would be allowed to supply a portion of
ethanol through Thai Alcohol. Under the plant establishment contract, Thai
Alcohol is required to export 100,000 liters per day out of the daily
ethanol production of 200,000 liters.
An oil trader said most traders were normally willing to
purchase ethanol if prices of the alternative fuel were fixed based on
prices of MTBE, a substance used to add octane in benzene. (TNA)
SIPA eyes Pattaya
as a new ICT City
Pattaya could become Thailand’s latest ‘ICT City’
under plans by the Software Industry Promotion Agency (SIPA) to boost the
town’s information and communications technology capability.
Both SIPA and the Pattaya authorities are in agreement
that the tourist resort would make a suitable location for ICT development,
thanks to its advantages in terms of transportation links, tourism and
“After talking with SIPA, Pattaya will set up a
community to study and lay down the framework for the town’s development,
inviting private and public sector representatives to discuss and determine
what approaches we are to take. We will aim to reach a conclusion as soon as
possible so that we can request funding from the government”, Banthit
Siritanyong, the advisor to the Pattaya City mayor, said.
The project would aim to reduce the information gap
between older and younger generations although the development of Pattaya
would possibly follow a different trajectory from the development of ICT
cities in other provinces such as Phuket and Khon Kaen.
With a focus on the development of e-government services,
the project will also emphasize education, business and tourism development.
Pattaya is viewed as an ideal location due to its relative proximity to the
new Suwanabhumi Airport, the Laem Chabang Port and industrial estates, as
well as several popular tourist destinations. (TNA)
Border customs to get
Thailand plans to introduce one-stop service centers at
some of the country’s border towns to help speed up customs procedures for
traders, according to a senior customs official.
“One-stop centers will be established initially at four
border checkpoints - Mae Sai checkpoint in northern Chiang Rai Province, Mae
Sot checkpoint in Tak Province, Aranyaprathet checkpoint in Prachinburi
Province bordering Cambodia, and another one in nearby Mukdaharn
Province,” said the country’s chief customs official, Sathit Limpongpan.
“The one-stop-service center will cut down on the time
consuming paperwork for cross-border traders and should also help increase
the value of bilateral trade with our neighboring countries,” said Sathit.
Border trade has long been an important part of the Thai
economy. Customs officials hope to provide a speedier service to traders to
help boost border trade.
“Usually, to import certain goods from neighboring
Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, local traders need special licenses. They must
acquire these from various ministries – including the Agriculture and
Cooperatives Ministry and the Ministry of Health. In the past they had to
make special trips to Bangkok and waste their time. In the near future, our
one-stop-service centers at the border check points will issue all licenses
on the spot. This will save a lot of time and effort, and allow the goods to
be processed quickly. Thailand’s neighbors are expected to soon introduce
a similar service for traders on their side of the border. Thai customs will
begin a one-day-clearance service for cross-border traders from early next
month. We will reduce the week-long process to only one day to save traders
time and money,” Sathit said. (TNA)
tax reduction measures
The cabinet has approved tax reduction measures for
social support and assistance to low and medium income earners and small and
medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), Finance Minster Somkid Jatusripitak
The finance minister said the measures, if successfully
implemented, would benefit the overall Thai economy since people would have
more money left for spending and saving. It would also help boost local
consumption, which could be used in place of state spending to drive the
country’s economic growth. More importantly, he said, the tax reduction
for SMEs would enable entrepreneurs to use money earned from the measures to
expand their business.
Sirote Swasdipanich, director-general of the Revenue
Department, said although the tax cut measures would cost the government
more than 8.2 billion baht; the revenue loss had already been set aside.
Under the approved measures, an amount subject to a
waiver on the personal income tax after deduction shall increase to 100,000
baht from 80,000 baht, applicable for incomes earned this year.
SMEs with a register capital of no more than 5 million
baht shall be subject to a corporate tax of 15% collected on net profits of
the first amount of one million baht, compared with 20% under the existing
tax collection system.
For net profits of more than that amount, they will be
subject to the same corporate tax rate of 15%, not to the progressive tax
rate, applicable for companies or partnerships established in the accounting
period on or after January 1, 2004. SMEs that earn revenue of no more than
1.8 million baht are not subject to value-added taxes.
The amount edges up from no more than 1.2 million baht
under the existing system. This is applicable for revenue earned from April
1, 2005 onward. (TNA)
Stricter restaurant checks
to be implimented
Under new strict food quality controls, restaurants and
food stalls which fail to meet the government’s required standards on
three consecutive occasions will face permanent closure, according to Public
Health Minister Sudarat Keyuraphan. She made her remarks after inspecting
restaurants located along Ekkamai-Ram Intra Road. Two well-known restaurants
there have failed the first inspection, she said.
These two restaurants, and any others that fail the first
test, will have to improve their service and health standards before the
second test. If fail they again, the Bangkok municipal authorities will
issue notices that will be posted on their premises warning customers that
they have twice failed to meet the government’s minimum standards, the
Under local Bangkok regulations, restaurants and food
stalls could be permanently closed if they fail the test three times in a
row. The public health minister is currently trying to make the public and
restaurants operators aware of the government’s ‘Clean Food Good
“Nearly 40 percent of Bangkok restaurants and food
stalls have already been awarded the ‘Clean Food Good Taste’
Certificate. More than 22,000 food stalls and 20,000 restaurants, have
received the certificate,” Sudarat said. (TNA)
Internet cafes applaud
Internet cafe owners are welcoming the government’s
move to delegate responsibility for controlling the Internet cafe business
to the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology (ICT),
expressing confidence that the ministry will provide the sector with a clear
direction while facilitating its growth.
Chalermsak Lertlopthatree, president of the Thai Internet
Cafe Owners Association, applauded the decision to hand control of the
sector from the Interior Ministry to the ICT Ministry, saying that the ICT
Ministry’s understanding of the sector would undoubtedly lead to the
growth of the these businesses in Thailand. Voicing optimism that the
ministry will be able to draw up clear guidelines for the sector, he said
that the ministry could ensure that the business was channeled in a positive
In the past the Internet cafe business was controlled by
the Tape and Television Materials Act, supervised by the Interior Ministry
with assistance from the police. The result was patchy enforcement of
legislation, with no practical single standard for supervision.
Internet cafe owners hope to discuss plans to determine
opening hours for Internet cafes with the ICT Ministry. Some Internet cafes
are currently operating on a 24-hour basis. However, the majority of cafes
are complying with government directives to ban children under the age of 18
from using their services after 10:00 p.m. as required under the 2004 Child
Protection Act. (TNA)
GSB to issue new bonds
The Government Savings Bank (GSB) will introduce new bond
projects, worth around 10 billion baht early next year. GSB’s
director-general Goanpot Asvinvichit said that GSB is considering issuing
the new bonds in three or four separate projects.
“We’re considering issuing the new bond schemes of 3,
5, 7 and 10 years to mobilize public funds to support government development
projects for the grass-root level of people. The new bond projects will be
worth around 10 billion baht and will be issued early next year”, Goanpot
said. “The new bond schemes will also provide an alternative way of
savings for the general public at a time when domestic and global interest
rates are on the rising trend”, he noted.
Details of the GSB’s bond schemes are being finalized
and will soon be announced to the general public. GSB has supported the
government’s key development projects for the grass-root sector so far,
including the People’s Bank and the Village Fund Schemes. (TNA)
Thai food wins
favor in France
The Ministry of Commerce hopes to capitalize on the
success of Thai products at a recent Paris food fair to boost marketing
channels for Thai cuisine in France.
Ninety-five Thai companies exhibited at the SIAL (Sial
International d’Alimentation) 2004 event held from October 17-21, joining
their counterparts from other countries for the biggest gathering of food
industry professionals in the world.
Thailand’s Department of Export Promotion, which has
exhibited at the fair for the past 14 years, led exporters of a wide range
of food products to the Paris show. Goods this year included Hom Mali rice,
processed food, cooked food and Thai ingredients. Thai product booths
attracted a huge amount of interest, with orders flowing in from around the
Products which proved particularly popular were rice,
spices, canned fruits and canned tuna. Surprisingly, given that the fair was
held in one of the world’s most important wine-producing nations, Thai
wine also attracted interest from visitors. French chefs also flocked to
watch Thai cooking demonstrations, which attracted around 1,500 visitors
The Ministry of Commerce capitalized on the success of
SIAL 2004 by teaming up with one of Paris’ top department stores, Galeries
Lafayette, to promote Thai products until November 8. The store showcased
Thai food products and goods produced under the One Tambon One Product (OTOP)
Trade representatives were also able to talk to some of
France’s largest food importers, responsible for getting goods onto
supermarket shelves. The eventual aim will be to ensure that Thai products
are not only sold in specialist Asian shops, but are also represented in
mainstream stores such as Carrefour and Auchon. Further promotions are
planned for both stores next April. (TNA)
Bid to slash gasohol price
The Ministry of Energy is searching for ways of bringing
down the price of gasohol, with the aim of ensuring that gasohol rather than
octane 95 petrol becomes the fuel of choice among Bangkok vehicle users by
the end of next year.
Minister of Energy Prommin Lertsuridej expressed
confidence that the government’s campaign to encourage gasohol use would
pay off, with the introduction of a number of measures designed to boost
public confidence in the new fuel. At the beginning of November, the
Automobile Industry Association and car manufacturers will band together to
offer guarantees to motorists that gasohol is safe to use.
The energy and industry ministries, meanwhile, will work
together to raise the domestic production of ethanol, a key component in
The Ministry of Energy said it will begin raising the
price of diesel next year, with a series of staggered price rises to ensure
that consumers were not faced with sudden price hikes. (TNA)
Former PM says government must speed up search for energy sources
Former Prime Minister Anand Panyarachun has called on the
government to accelerate finding additional fuel reserve sources, saying the
global energy situation is of concern now. He said global oil prices have
increased to more than US$50 per barrel.
“This is a worrying level which could lead to the
slowdown in the global economy,” Anand cautioned, “so it is a duty of
each country to come up with an approach to deal with the situation.”
For Thailand, he said, the government should attempt to
assess the global fuel prices properly so that it can adjust measures to
deal with local oil prices. He said he hoped the government’s measure to
cap fuel prices should not last too long because it could have repercussions
in the long run.
Anand, who is a chief advisor of the National Economic
and Social Development Council, said the violence in Iraq and Nigeria, which
are the world’s major fuel production sources, remain of concern.
“Possible terrorist attacks and sabotages on oil pipelines would worsen
the oil price crisis,” he warned.
He said Thailand’s fuel production capacity had not
increased, while the demand was rising, which means the government must
accelerate its search for more fuel reserve sources in preparation for
future problems. (TNA)
Manual Labor and Public Utility Committees meet to discuss improvements
10,000 baht reward offered for capture of drainage cover thieves
At a recent meeting of the Manual Labor and Public
Utility Committees in Pattaya City, a 10,000 baht reward was offered for
information leading to the capture and arrest of drainage cover thieves.
Other meeting topics included improving public utilities
in Pattaya City, flood control and the deteriorating road that leads to the
wastewater treatment plant behind Nongyai Temple.
administrators made a routine inspection of the Soi Bua Khao area, which has
been plagued with flooding.
Held on October 21 at city hall, Bunlue Kulawanit,
Pattaya council member, and a representative of the Department of Labor and
Public Utilities Committee in Pattaya City, led the meeting to discuss
improvements on a number of issues regarding public works around the
Bunlue said, “Pattaya City constructed a road to the
wastewater treatment plant behind Nongyai Temple, which has since
deteriorated, resulting in many complaints from the public. A resolution has
been made to request a budget to repair the road. We have also had a barrage
of grievances that drainage covers are being stolen and being sold for cash.
The city is offering a 10,000 baht reward for information leading to the
arrest of these thieves and the people who buy from them.”
Committee members also went out for a routine inspection
of Soi Bua Khao in Central Pattaya. The area has been plagued with flooding.
Wirat Jirasripaibun, Public Works Department engineering director, said
the problem arose because water can’t be drained off in time. He said that
Pattaya City has added water pumps and is also expanding the drainage pipe.
“This problem will be solved when the drainage construction is
completed,” said Wirat.