Thailand has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world, with only 0.56 percent of the people unemployed compared to India's 9.4 percent and the Philippines’s 6 percent, said a Bloomberg article.

Bloomberg said the unemployment rate was due to structural problems rather than differences in defining the term 'unemployment'. It said the agricultural sector took the bulk of labor forces, with more than 40 percent of the Thai population working in the field, according to the Bank of Thailand spokesman, Chirathep Senivongs Na Ayudhya.

It also said many of the unemployed in Thailand often find jobs in “informal sectors,” and thus are not defined as being gainfully employed. The informal sectors comprise street vendors, motorcycle taxi drivers, the self-employed, and those who do not work in office, which include the underemployed, people who are highly skilled but work for low wages or low skill jobs, and part-time workers looking for a full-time job. Some laborers working on the farm are also counted as underemployed or seasonally employed.

Another factor contributing to the low unemployment rate in Thailand, according to the article, is the country's low fertility rate, which means older people-- 60 or above--who are retiring or no longer in the work force make up a large part of population in the country. Other factors include unregistered foreign workers from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, who have yet to be included in the unemployment rate. Thailand has registered 1.6 million foreign workers since last year.

BANGKOK, 5 March 2015 - The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives has denied rumors that it is going to offer money to senior farmers in its second phase of economic stimulus plan.

In response to the hearsay, Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Pitipong Phuengbun Na Ayutthaya confirmed that the ministry had no plan to provide 15,000 baht to farmers aged above 60 in a bid to boost spending as some people might believe.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives has prepared plans to assist financially troubled farmers but it must await the outcome of the study of farmers’ spending and income first before executing the plans, which Mr. Pitipong reaffirms consist of no cash distribution.

He continued that the Ministry prefers sustainable solutions as they will enable farmers to stand on their own feet, such as promotion of the use of locally-made products to lower reliance on export, or negotiation with the Ministry of Finance for cancellation of debt repayment for farmers.

BANGKOK, 5 March 2015 - The State Enterprises Workers' Relations Confederation (SERC) has submitted a letter to the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) requesting that law makers revise the bill pertaining to public gathering regulations.

The State Enterprises Workers' Relations Confederation (SERC) has voiced concerns over the rights of employees, which may be affected by the bill in the event of a negotiation with their employers.

The bill, which is intended to scale down the intensity of future political protests, specifies the time and the locations where demonstrators are allowed to form a rally; as well as penalties they are to face if they flout the rules and regulations.

According to the SERC, the NLA should state clearly that the bill is directed towards political demonstrations so as to separate the labor sector from politics.

NLA member Somchai Sawangkarn said he would forward the SERC’s proposal to the NLA president today. He, however, confirmed that the issuance of protest-control laws must continue, but that the NLA would try its best to protect the public’s rights.

BANGKOK, 5 March 2015 - Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has told state agencies to cut back on foreign study trips in order to save on budget, according to Deputy Government Spokesperson Major General Sansern Kaewkamnerd.

Maj. Gen. Sansern said that General Prayut had told state agencies to conduct self-monitoring in order to prevent and suppress acts of corruption, telling the agencies that they needed to act as role models in graft prevention.

According to the deputy spokesman, General Prayut has asked the agencies to consider reducing less crucial study trips abroad, and to consider inviting foreign experts to give lectures in Thailand instead of the more costly study trips. State agency executives, such as directors-general, who need to attend conferences abroad have been asked to consider economy class travel to save travel expenses. Officials with positions of deputy director-general and below have also been asked to travel in economy class.

The prime minister has also assigned the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology to work on development of mobile device applications that will provide the public with information on the undertakings of the government and updates of data relevant to people's daily lives, such as the prices of produce and food items, Maj. Gen. Sansern added.

BANGKOK, 5 March 2015 - As many as 500 offenders were arrested in operations during February 25 and March 2 in Phuket, in an attempt by the Phuket police to suppress crime.

Police Major General Phatchara Bunyasit, commander of Phuket Provincial Police, revealed that a large number of weapons were confiscated during the operations. The weapons include firearms, ammunition and knives. Other illegal items seized included fireworks, firecrackers, sky lanterns, intellectual property-infringing items and narcotics. The items were seized between February 25 and March 2 at road checkpoints as well was during searches on various venues.

According to Pol. Maj. Gen. Phatchara, the crime suppression operations were aimed at reinforcing the confidence of Thais and foreigners in the safety of Phuket.

BANGKOK, 5 Mar 2015, The domestic tourism sector might grow less than 10% growth during this year’s Songkran holiday as earlier predicted, thanks to the slowing economy, says the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

TAT’s Deputy Director on Domestic Marketing Anuphab Theerarat said yesterday that his office was collecting information on passenger bookings for the upcoming Songkran festival from airlines, coach and train services operators, as well as accommodation providers.

Despite the slowing economy, Mr. Anuphab is confident that there will be some growth, given the long holiday is the usual time for the locals to visit their families or friends.

According to a poll conducted by the National Statistical Office, 39.1% of the 63,060 people interviewed traveled to visit relatives during the festival last year, 37.2% traveled for religious reasons, and 31.6% made a journey for recreation purposes. TAT also revealed that the most favorite destination among local tourists are Northeastern provinces, at 30.4%; followed by provinces in the Central region, the capital, the Eastern region, the upper Northern Region, the lower part of the North and the Southern Region, respectively.

BANGKOK, 5 Mar 2015,  According to the Ministry of Commerce, degenerate rice in government stock which is currently being investigated by the officials will be put in auction when the legal proceeding is over.

Director-General of the Department of Foreign Trade Duangporn Rodpaya explained that the investigation aimed at bringing the culprits involved in the sales of low-grade rice is expected to be over by August, after which the auction can be conducted.

She said that several companies, both local and foreign, have expressed their interests in the aged grains for use in various industries.

The Director-General stated the officials could not let go of the rice as it is being used as evidence in a legal case. Once the case is solved in the coming month, the rice would be available for auction.

Ms. Duangporn also assured that most of the rice in the existing government stockpiles are of good quality and have attracted continued interest from buyers.

KANCHANABURI, 5 Mar 2015 - The Provincial Administration of Kanchanaburi yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding on garbage disposal with North Environment Company Limited, the Office of Natural Resources and Environment in Kanchanaburi, and the Environmental Promotion Office of the province. The project would also seek to generate electrical power from garbage.

According to the Provincial Administration Office, the units involved would conduct a feasibility study on establishing a disposal plant, designating an area for garbage processing, and determining the transportation methods.

The office underlined that the disposal process would be done with efficiency and systematically, in line with the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) road map designating every province to draw up its own garbage disposal plan which will then be integrated into the national master plan.

Wednesday, 04 March 2015 14:54

Thai Red Cross in need of blood donations

BANGKOK, 4 March 2015 - The Thai Red Cross Society is encouraging people to make blood donations on the occasion of Makha Bucha Day as blood stocks are on a decline.

BANGKOK, 4 March 2015 - The Department of Skill Development (DSD) is planning to make a list of occupations that require verification in order to assure safety in workplace.

According to DSD Director General M.L. Boontarik Smithi, the DSD is currently working with various career associations in identifying occupations that could potentially be harmful to the public and the workers themselves.

New requirements will be enforced demanding prospective employees of these jobs to be verified by the authorities of their qualifications and skills. The move is aimed at increasing safety for both the workers and people around them.

Labor Minister General Surasal Kanjanarat will be asked to approve the criteria applicable to electricians and welders first. However, they will be notified and allowed a period of time to adjust to the new regulations before they take effect on March 26.

Employers will also be required to hire only candidates that have been authorized to work in such fields. They could face a maximum fine of 30,000 baht if they do not abide by the rules. The workers who have successfully gained an employment without proof of authorization will be subjected to a fine of up to 5,000 baht.