BANGKOK-The Ministry of Finance is set to propose to the government to maintain a 7% value added tax (VAT) as the Thai economy is still recovering.
Permanent Secretary for Finance Somchai Sujjapongse said it was important to keep the VAT rate at the same level for at least one year despite the International Monetary Fund’s suggestion to raise the rate.
He said it would only discourage consumers from spending if the VAT rate was increased. The current rate will expire at the end of September. The Permanent Secretary stressed that the Thai economy still needed supporting factors to grow.
The VAT can be slightly adjusted once the economy begins to show signs of growth. The adjustment, he said, ought to be made gradually instead of adopting a big percentage leap as it would shock the economy.
BURIRAM – Phanom Rung Historical Park has seen a very high number of tourists since the start of the Songkran Festival. The number is expected to topple 50,000 people on the last day of the long holiday.
Phanom Rung Historical Park is crowded with Thai and foreign tourists travelling from Lao PDR, China, and western countries. According to park officials, the park has been visited by at least 10,000 people a day since the first day of Songkran on April 13th.
Park officials are on a heightened sense of alert to prevent any unexpected incidents as well as assist tourists in need. At least 60 security personnel are on standby on a daily basis.
Chief of Phanom Rung Historical Park, Wasan Thepsuriyanon, said the number of visitors throughout the 5-day period (April 13th – April 17th) could be as high as 50,000 people.
Phanom Rung Historical Park is one of Thailand's most famous Khmer architecture sites, aged over a thousand years old. Built on an extinct volcano, it was originally a Hindu religious site and later became a Buddhist one.
SAMUT PRAKARN – Deputy Samut Prakarn provincial governor Thanu Boonlert said those who work outdoors in the heat of the sun for a long time might have high risks of getting heat strokes.
UTHAI THANI - A fire broke out at Sakaekrang Mountain in Uthai Thani, posing health risks to nearby communities.
CAIR - One Thai was killed and three others were injured in a car accident in Egypt on Thursday. The Royal Thai Embassy in Cairo has coordinated assistance for them.
SURAT THANI – A large number of tourists, Thai and foreign, have visited major attractions on Samui island off Surat Thani province during the Songkran holiday.
The popular tourist spots included Phra Yai Koh Fan temple, in Bophut county where the biggest Phraphutthakhodom image in the southern region is enshrined on top of the hill.
Besides, Thai and foreign tourists joyfully swam in hot weather at famous Chaweng beach on Samui island. They took photos and ate food with their family members on the beach. Songkran celebrations on Koh Samui island were expected to generate a large amount of revenue.
BANGKOK – Thailand has been urged to take further steps to eradicate fishing pirates and slavery.
Following a meeting between Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan and Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) Executive Director Steve Trent, the deputy prime minister revealed that both sides had discussed Thailand’s current efforts against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, and the associated human rights abuses and human trafficking in the Thai seafood sector.
He said the government had been encouraged to complete the ratification and implementation of the Port State Measures Agreement, an international treaty designed to stop IUU fish entering ports and gaining access to markets.
The foundation also recommended an urgent investment in translation and language capabilities of Thai officials responsible for investigating labor abuses, as part of a broader move to a victim-centered approach to these investigations.
CHONBURI – Throngs of Songkran revelers have necessitated adjustments to traffic management in Chonburi province’s Bang Saen district.
BANGKOK - The Ministry of Commerce has announced success in selling as high as 150,000 tons of rice during a trip in which it led Thai businessmen to Hong Kong. The trip was aimed at expanding the market of Thai rice and fruits in Hong Kong.
Minister of Commerce Apiradi Tantraporn who led the trip met with her Hong Kong counterpart to discuss Thailand’s durian exports to Hong Kong. Last year, more than 50% of Thai durian exports worth six billion baht were to Hong Kong.
In the past, Hong Kong found that some Thai durians were coated with turmeric and contaminated.
The minister said Thailand and Hong Kong agreed to work closely together to tackle the problem of contaminated Thai durian exports. No turmeric-coated durians from Thailand were found in markets in Hong Kong during this period, she said. The minister also warned Thai durian exporters to conform to Hong Kong’s regulations for fresh fruit and vegetable exports
BANGKOK - Rumors which had circulated in social media that over 100 Songkran revelers had been hospitalized due to illnesses caused by unhygienic water were found by the authorities to be merely a hoax.
Deputy Public Health Ministry Permanent Secretary Suwannachai Watthanayingcharoenchai said today the ministry had made prompt inquiries into the hearsay that more than 100 Songkran revelers in Silom area had fallen ill and been rushed to Lerdsin Hospital, King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital, Thai Red Cross Society, BNH hospital and Charoenkrungpracharak hospital. The authorities ultimately found out that such rumors were entirely groundless as no patients with symptoms allegedly related to unhygienic water have been reported at any of those hospitals, he said.
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