BANGKOK, 20 October 2014  Minister of Commerce Gen Chatchai Sarikalya has voiced confidence that this year’s export growth will end up with a positive figure and has assigned commerce officials overseas to step up promotional campaigns.

Gen Chatchai convened a meeting with Thai commerce attaches from 43 countries worldwide to discuss the direction of Thai exports and related strategies for the rest of this year and the year 2015. The minister said he wished to see exports of next year expand at a higher rate than the national GDP, hoping the growth would be around 4-5 percent.

By the end of this year, the commerce officials were instructed to hold more promotional activities for Thai export goods in their respective countries. Gen Chatchai pointed out that important markets at the moment were China, India and the Middle East, adding that border trade with neighboring countries should also be accelerated, especially after the ASEAN Community officially opened.

Although the country’s export earnings for the first eight months of this year indicated an expansion of negative 1.36 percent year-on-year, the Commerce Minister assured that the figure for the entire year would be positive. He revealed he would make a journey to various countries in a bid to boost confidence among foreigners towards Thai products.

BANGKOK, 20 October 2014  The Secretary General of the House of Representatives has confirmed that the first meeting of the National Reform Council can take place as planned even without its own meeting regulations.

House Secretary General Charae Panpruang, who acts as the Secretary General of the NRC, said that the first meeting of the reform council on October 21 has been scheduled for the election of an NRC president and two NRC vice presidents.

Before the election process, all NRC members will be taking an oath of allegiance after they have received the royal endorsement for the appointment to sit in the council, with Mr. Paron Israsena, who is the most senior NRC member, performing the role of the chair for the day.

Mr. Charae insisted that, even though the NRC has not drafted its own meeting regulations, the adoption of the NLA rules will ensure that the selection process will be fair and transparent.

He went on to say that after the selection of the president and the two vice presidents, the meeting will move on to discuss other issues, including the appointment of two members to the Constitutional Drafting Committee, which must be completed within 15 days from the first day of the NRC meeting.

BANGKOK, 21 October 2014  Private businesses could soon be invited to partake in a new scheme by the government that aims to address the problem of loan sharks by having the non-bank companies issue 'nano-finance' loans to low-income earners with an interest rate between 32 and 36 percent per year.

Finance Minister Sommai Phasee said after a meeting with high-level ministry executives on Monday that the Bank of Thailand has concurred with the plan to allow private firms to issue the 'nano-financing' loans that would address the loan sharks problem more effectively than the current micro-finance loans provided by banks. The providers of the loans will have to be either juristic persons or companies that were financially ready and which must be registered with the Ministry of Finance. The amount of each loan will not be in excess of 120,000 baht, and there interest rate will be between 30 and 36 percent per year.

To provide private businesses with the incentive to partake in the scheme, only half of the income generated from the interest received from the loans will be taxable.

Mr. Sommai was confident the new scheme would not raise the household debts level, currently standing at 83%, because the Finance Ministry will lay down clear frameworks to regulate the issuance of the loans.

BANGKOK, 21 October 2014  September 2014 saw the highest turnout of newly registered companies, as business operators are gaining more confidence in the government’s policy to stimulate the economy.

Director-General of the Business Development Department Ms. Pongpan Jiarawiriyapan stated that there were a total of 6,079 newly registered companies in September with a combined registered capital of 30.1 billion baht. The figure marks an increase of 8 percent compared to the same period last year.

Regarding the top five business sectors that have been registered, construction topped the list with a total of 712 companies, followed by the real estate sector at 331 companies, restaurants at 154 companies, machinery wholesale business at 141 companies, and tourism service at 115 companies.

Ms. Pongpan remains confident that the number of newly registered companies will continue to rise during the last quarter of 2014 and new business registrations will exceed 60,000 for the entire year.

PATTANI, 21 October 2014 - Deep South residents have been encouraged to help authorities restore peace under Toong Yang Deang Model, which is a strategy said to be more comprehensive in dealing with various issues in the areas.

The Southern Border Provinces Administrative Center (SBPAC) and the Internal Security Council have been working together under the model to assure safety. Residents will also be asked to report to the authorities and look out for one another.

Police and the army will continue to be major forces in safeguarding lives. There will be night time patrols as well as invisible surveillance around schools and villages .

The Toong Yang Deang Model is also focused on establishing mutual understanding between local people and government officers. This will improve the livelihood of the Deep South residents and reduce illegal drug abuse.

Marches against violence will be organized. Emergency drills and safety training will be carried out. A warning system will be installed in 13 schools. Funds will be raised and other necessities will be sought to support the cause.

BANGKOK, 21 October 2014  Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha presided over the cabinet meeting today at Government House ahead of the five-month anniversary of the army takeover tomorrow.

The army will mark its five months in power tomorrow after staging a coup on May 22 that led to the removal of former Premier Yingluck Shinawatra from office.

The Ministry of Transport is set to propose investment projects for increased transport connectivity, including the dual rail track project in 2015 during the weekly meeting.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, meanwhile, will put forward measures to solve the flagging prices of rubber as discussed with the National Rubber Policy Committee.

The Budget Bureau will also outline plans for managing the 2015 fiscal budget while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will nominate candidates for ambassadors from Hungary and Ireland to Thailand.

KRABI, 21 October 2014  Police are expanding the search for the two missing South Korean tourists whose speedboat crashed into a fishing vessel near Krabi on Sunday evening.

The search for a man and a woman from South Korea who have gone missing in the water has been expanded today to cover more sea areas in a bid to rescue the tourists.

Police are also looking to formally charge the driver of the speedboat for reckless driving causing death or serious injury.

Local police have been instructed to inspect inbound and outbound boats on nearby islands and to keep a close watch on speedboat drivers and crew following the accident.

Residents on the island have been urged to report speed driving or boats operating at overcapacity.

BANGKOK, 21 October 2014  Supreme Commander General Worapong Sanganet has said all the armed forces have been working in unity and support of the government.

General Worapong has attended a meeting of the armed forces following his new role as a supreme commander. He reiterated to the officers at the meeting to follow Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha’s policy.

According to him, the armed forces should see significant progress in 3-9 months' time according to stage 2 of the Roadmap, which he said would lead the country to transparent and corruption-free elections.

General Worapong added that the reform for the armed forces will be in line with the 11 areas set by General Prayut, and that they will continue to throw their weight behind the government.

UBON RATCHATHANI, 21 October 2014   The Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) has allotted a total of 20 million baht to repair the Ubon Ratchathani International Airport after it caught fire on October 17th. However, the airport has resumed its normal operations.

Passengers have continued to use the airport, whereas airline personnel are closely monitoring passengers arriving at the western gate and screening them as they go through a waiting area before boarding their flights. Meanwhile, departing passengers can exit through the eastern gate as usual.

DCA Director-General Seri Jitsopa said that based on police reports, the fire was possibly caused by a short circuit in an air-conditioner located above a shop selling silk cloth and aromatic candles. However, conclusions have yet to be drawn from the police forensics team.

Even though the fire did not damage the building’s infrastructure, repairs still have to be carried out at the airport’s ceilings and glass windows. The entire air-conditioning system also needs to be changed. The entire process is expected to take 2 months with a budget of 20 million baht.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014 14:15

NRC elects President and 2 Vice-Presidents

BANGKOK, 21 October 2014 The National Reform Council (NRC) voted in its first meeting today to elect its President and two Vice Presidents.

Under the interim chairmanship of 87-year-old Paron Issarasena Na Ayutthaya, the most senior member of the NRC, the Council elected Dr.Tianchay Kiranan as the President of the NRC, Borwornsak Uwanno and Dr.Tassana Boontong as the first and second vice presidents, respectively.

NRC President Dr.Tianchay Kiranan received his Bachelor's degree in political science from Chulalongkorn University and continued his studies in the United States, where he earned his Master's Degree in Economics & Demography from Hawaii University and a Ph.D in Economics from Duke University. Dr. Tianchay is the Vice-President of Prince Mahidol Award Foundation and was a professor in economics at Chulalongkorn University as well as the former President of the University.

First NRC Vice President Borwornsak Uwanno earned his Bachelor of Law at Chulalongkorn University and completed his postgraduate and Ph.D studies at the University of Paris. He is currently serving as the secretary-general of King Prajadhipok's Institute. He was a member of the drafting committee of the 1997 Constitution of Thailand, and previously served as the Cabinet secretary-general under the Thaksin government.

Second NRC Vice President Dr.Tassana Boontong received her Bachelor of Education in Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing from Chulalongkorn University and completed her postgraduate studies at Boston University, earning a Masters Degree in Adult Psychiatry and her Ph.D in Health and Higher Education.

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