Govt brushes off reports of business shutdowns due to wage rise

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BANGKOK, 3 February 2013  The government has dismissed news reports of business shutdowns, caused by the new 300-baht daily minimum wage raise, but promised to look into the issues and offer possible assistance when needed. 

Deputy Commerce Minister Nattawut Saikua said during the weekly’ “Yingluck Government Meets the People” program on Saturday that the government has introduced some measures to help and support SMEs, who could be in need of assistance to help them better cope with the new daily minimum wage policy.

Mr. Nattawut said that such measures include low interest loans, the improvement of machineries to boost productivity, and the support for their penetration into international markets.

The deputy minister confirmed that, so far, no business has been shut down because of the minimum wage hike, which came into effect across the country since January 1, 2013. He said that those out of business did so because of their operational losses.

However, Mr. Nattawut stated that the government will conduct a survey to see how the country’s SMEs have been affected by the minimum wage increase and how they may want the government to help.

Meanwhile, Democrat Party spokesman Chavanon Intharakomalsut said that the 300-baht daily minimum wage policy has particularly hit those in the textile and electronics industries in the Northern region. He suggested the government to subsidize the difference of the old and the new wages, saying that this approach will cost the state coffer only 20 billion baht.