Minister insists wage hike not causing business closures


BANGKOK, Jan 9 – Deputy Commerce Minister Nattawut Saikua on Wednesday asserted that entrepreneurs closing their businesses, particularly in December, have nothing with the government’s Bt300 minimum wage rise nationwide, starting January 1.

He said more than 3,300 businesses closing down at the year end, and that for most– 58 per cent–the reasons were due to accumulated debt in the construction and property sectors, recreation services and business consulting companies

Mr Nuttawut said it was normal for entrepreneurs deciding to stop a nonprofitable business at the end of the year so that they would not have to file an annual financial statement with the Business Development Department in the following year.

He added the Bt300 wage hike has been applied since April last year in seven pilot provinces without problems, and that taking effect nationwide for only less than 10 days should not affect the closure rate of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

However, for the public’s clarification, the cabinet has already ordered the Commerce as well as the Labour Ministry, particularly Business Development Department, to collect information and process the data to analyse why each business was closed.

The deputy commerce minister noted that several parties are finding solutions such as tax relief and low interest loans to help SMEs expected to be affected by the wage hike.

The Commerce Ministry will assist workers whose employment was ended to be considered for placement in other businesses, and the ministry will also provide other means to help ease the public’s burden such as measures on lowering the cost of living.