Opposition Party asks govt to rethink utility price hikes

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BANGKOK, 1 September 2013 The Opposition Democrat Party has called on the government to consider delaying utility price increases as the economy is declining. 

Democrat MP Sansern Samalapha said on Sunday that the government increased prices of cooking gas, electricity tariff, and tollway fees at the same time despite negative economic data reported by the Bank of Thailand. Next month’s economy might worsen due to slowing consumption caused by higher household debt as well as decreasing exports, he said.

Another Democrat MP, Atthawit Suwannaphakdee, said the country’s debt and product prices had been soaring since Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra took office two years ago.

Since September 1st, LPG price in the household sector has increased by 7.50 baht per 15 kilograms, electricity by 7 Satang per unit, and tollway fee by 5 baht.

The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce has found that the 2013 household debt rose to 188,774 baht per household, up from 159,432 baht per household in 2011. Public debt in the second quarter of this year increased to 5.2 trillion baht from 4.3 trillion baht in the first quarter.