Commerce Ministry expects wage rise to boost economy

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BANGKOK, 18 September 2011 – Deputy PM and Commerce Minister Kittirat Na Ranong has defended the government’s plan to increase minimum wages, saying that the move will be a major boost to the economy.

Mr Kittirat explained that the aim of the wage increase was to help improve the livelihood of low-income earners so that the gap between the rich and the poor would be narrowed. For example, if people in this group are better paid, they will be able to buy more food or better clothes.

Kittirat also said that the launch of the much- criticized rice pledging project was in fact intended to help improve incomes of farmers and enable the public to consume the staple food at lower prices.

He added the government was also planning to cut corporate income taxes from 30 percent to 23 percent, so that companies would be able to earn more and to comply with the pay raise policy without difficulty.

The Deputy PM believed that the scheme would help push the national GDP up by 2.5 percent. However, he said the ultimate goal of government’s policies was to make all Thai people the driving force behind the economic development, consequently lessening the country’s reliance on international trade.