SAMUT PRAKARN, 17 April 2015 - Samut Prakarn provincial authorities have inspected fishing vessels to curb human trafficking ahead of ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).

Boat owners have been encouraged to have their migrant workers registered for a new identification card.

The inspection team consists of officials from various organizations, including the Ministry of Labour, the Department of Fisheries, the Public Relations Department, the first Naval Area Command, police and other relevant agencies.

The inspection also ensures that Thai employers are aware that their workers are also entitled to certain benefits and fair treatment under the law.

According to the cabinet’s resolution, migrant workers will be able to stay in the Kingdom for another year, after completing the registration process by June 30.

BANGKOK, 17 April 2015, The Revenue Department has been developing procedures and drafting forms for income registration.

Deputy Finance Minister Wisudhi Srisuphan revealed the move is in accordance with a recent order by Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Mr. Wisudhi claimed the form would be simple. It contains a person’s name, address, and income. The Deputy Finance Minister said the registration would help the government determine who needs public financial aid and would help develop policies on the matter.

The Revenue Department said the new scheme is independent of revenue law, adding that it focuses more on collecting revenue and asset information of the members of the public for a national database. The government can then group people by economic status.

Mr. Wisudhi said existing classifications do not cover the entire population, making it inefficient for the government to issue need-based assistance policies.

Mr. Wisudhi revealed that all related units are expected to meet to discuss the specifics of the registration. He said he believed the campaign will be implemented by September.

BANGKOK, 17 April 2015 - Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha presented to the Thai and foreign media earlier this morning the government’s 6-month performance reports.

In a press conference at Government House, Prime Minister Prayut, ministers and government officials from the 20 ministries took turns describing their achievements in the past 6 months.

Deputy Prime Minister M.R. Pridiyathorn Devakula, an economic advisor to the Thai government, addressed economic achievements after the Prime Minister delivered the opening remark.

Deputy Prime Minister Yongyut Yuthavong was the next person to address the government’s social related achievements while Deputy Foreign Minister Don Poramatwinai has revealed what the administration has accomplished in terms of foreign relations.

In addition, Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office Suwaphan Tanyuwattana, who was the last official to speak in the event, talked about legal achievements.

Pamphlets containing government achievements in 11 policies in great detail have also been distributed to the media.

The 11 policies include the protection of the monarchy, national security, social equality, education, healthcare, economy, the role of Thailand in ASEAN, science and technology, natural resource preservation, anti-corruption efforts and the justice system.

BANGKOK, 17 April 2015 - The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives is on track to formulate a plan to promote organic farming in hopes of adding value to Thai produce.

Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Petipong Pungbun Na Ayudhya gave an interview regarding the organic farming promotion strategy, saying the ministry will place its emphasis on two main issues. One of them is to increase productivity through the expansion of organic cultivation areas by at least 10 percent every year.

The other area of concentration is quality control, in which rules and regulations will be imposed on organic agriculture, aquaculture and livestock farming to ensure that all products meet their standards. Moreover, the new quality guarantee symbol “Organic Thai” will be applied on exported products in addition to the existing Q label in order to reinforce their credibility in the eyes of foreigner consumers.

Mr Petipong said the achievement of the two goals, coupled with good management, will help create more agriculturists specialized in organic farming, disseminate related know-how in a wider scale, provide an alternative for people interested in agriculture and improve the image of Thai products on the global stage.

The minister noted that organic farming usually requires meticulous efforts. Although the practice has already been taken up by many farmers in Thailand, only a few are adhering to the proper procedures.

PRACHUAB KHIRI KHAN, 17 April 2015  -Thailand’s One Tambon One Product (OTOP) goods have been well-received by Myanmar shoppers during the recently-concluded Thailand-Myanmar OTOP.

The fair was held in Myeik City between April 4 and 6. The event brought together more than 30 OTOP outlets. Thai products that performed well at the fair included pineapple cheese crackers, dried fruit, herbal drinks and cosmetics derived from cold-pressed coconut oil. Thai operators reportedly raked in over one million baht during the three-day event.

The Prachaub Khiri Khan Community Development Department revealed that some Thai operators have successfully struck business deals with Myanmar importers. Locally-made snacks, food and drinks and organic cosmetics are expected to hit the shelves of Myeik department stores in the near future.

Thai exporters are in the process of producing Myanmar-language labels in anticipation of the new demand.

UTHAI THANI, 17 April 2015 - Thailand has continued to suffer from the worsening drought crisis. Several fruit orchards in the South have been affected by water shortages, while the Northeast has continued to experience heavy smog.

A dike has been built in Huai Khot district of Uthai Thani province, to sustain a hundred families at risk of water shortages.

The dike is a collaboration between the Department of Provincial Administration, the Department of Forestry and the Royal Thai Army. It was also been carried out in honor of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.

In the South of Thailand, fruit farmers in Yala claimed their crops are dying, as the summer heat intensifies in the region. The Royal Thai Army has been delivering water to several communities, some of which have had no running water for four months. Residents said despite the army’s assistance, the water supply is not nearly enough to support even one family.

Meanwhile, smog has caused poor road visibility in Nakhon Phanom province, particularly in the areas along the Mekong River. Residents have reported eye strain and irritation due to the air pollution.

Meteorologists claimed it was caused by the high pressure system from China that kept dust particles low to the ground. They added it would be another week before the smog begins to clear.

BANGKOK, 17 April 2015 - The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) is expected to file a lawsuit against private companies involved in the allegedly corrupt government-to-government (G2G) rice scheme.

NACC member Vicha Mahakhun has revealed that as many as 20 companies were found to have conspired to take advantage of the G2G rice scheme.

Nearly 100 companies were alleged to be involved in the former government’s rice program that sold the grains to foreign governments.

The NACC is currently gathering more evidence before filing the case at the Criminal Division for Political Office Holders of the Supreme Court. Mr. Vicha said the lawsuit will be filed soon to leave enough time for the court to consider before the first hearing is open.

BANGKOK, 17 April 2015,  Mr. Sammana Keetasin, Director of the Real Estate Information Center, revealed that prices of apartments and detached houses rose during the first quarter of this year.

The director said apartment rental rose 4.7% compared to same period last year, noting that apartments with a price tag of less than 50,000 baht per square meter have increased the price by 3.7% while those fetching 50,000 to 80,000 baht per square meter have increased their price by 5%.

Mr. Anuphab said the larger rooms with prices between 80,000 - 120,000 baht per sq. m. have increased the price by 6% and the ones that cost more than 120,000 baht per sq. m. increased their price by 3.6%.

Meanwhile, prices of single houses in Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, and Samut Prakan have averagely increased by 3.5%. In the capital, prices rose 3.4% while in Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, and Samut Prakan prices increased by 3.6%.

Mr. Anuphab said townhouse prices in the capital, Nonthaburi and Samut Prakan also increased by 3.9% in the quarter.

BANGKOK, 16 April 2015 - The Ministry of Public Health is pleased with the performance of its emergency assistance units during the Songkran holiday while setting a target to further promote its emergency hotline 1669. Public Health Minister Dr Rajata Rajatanavin stated that a flood of assistance requests were made by victims of road accidents to the 1669 emergency hotline during the seven dangerous days of Songkran. As a result, a total of 8,732 hospital transport trips were successfully made by the ministry’s rescue units, equivalent to a third of the nationwide figure.

Nonetheless, the minister admitted that it remains crucial to make people more familiar with the 1669 hotline to increase their access to emergency assistance. He said coordination between the rescuers and the police also needs to be improved for quicker operations. As for community checkpoints set up by the ministry across the nation during the festive period, Dr Rajata indicated that they were highly efficient in preventing road accidents and casualties.

Based on a survey of 206 checkpoints in 10 provinces, there were no fatalities on roads in their surroundings and only minor injuries were sustained from accidents by some motorists. Several drunk drivers were also intercepted at the checkpoints and were sent home safely.

Friday, 17 April 2015 12:50

TAT promotes tour packages on workdays

BANGKOK, 17 April 2015 - The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and 400 tour agencies are preparing to offer non-weekend tour packages, which cost only half of the normal prices during holidays or high season.

According to TAT Deputy Governor for Domestic Marketing Anuphab Theerarat, a campaign boosting normal-day tours will be held from May 14th - 17th at the TAT headquarters in Bangkok. The event aims to attract potential local tourists, especially SME business owners, to travel more during the off-season period.

Mr. Anuphab explains that those in SMEs can take leave without affecting their employment. He expects tour promotions among them would generate no less than 200 million baht.

At the event, the TAT will collect data and information about buyers’ details and preferences in order to draw up tourism packages that will cater to particular groups.

Statistics show a majority of Thais travel more during long holidays and weekends, and usually make travelling decision not long before their trips.

Mr. Anuphab expressed his confidence that with the the potential tour packages and discounts on offer at the campaign event, more Thais would be enticed to travel more on workdays

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