Transport entrepreneurs protest NGV price hike

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BANGKOK, Jan 9 —  Transport entrepreneurs protested at two locations in the capital on Monday against the cabinet resolution to raise the price of natural gas for vehicles (NGV) by Bt6/kg within a year.

Operators of trucks, private joint city buses, taxis and passenger pickup trucks began gathering at PTT headquarters last night and numbers of taxis started protesting at the Royal Plaza early Monday morning.

The protest at PTT headquarters near Chatuchak has caused traffic jam on outbound Vibhavadi Road while at the Royal Plaza protest, the gathering taxis extend to Phitsanulok Road clogging traffic in the area.

Land Transport Federation of Thailand (LTFT) chairman Yoo Chienyuenyongpong demanded the government to postpone increasing the price of NGV fuel until next year after the government announced it would to implement the earlier cabinet resolution in October last year to gradually raise NGV price Jan 16.

Under the resolution, the NGV price would rise, step by step, by 50 satang/kg every month and at the end of 2012 would stay at Bt14.50/kg from the present Bt8.50/kg, a 70 per cent hike.

The government would also increase liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to Bt16.06/litre from the current Bt11.14/litre.

Energy Minister Pichai Naripthaphan earlier asked the operators to join talks Jan 12 to discuss their problems. He said that if the planned NGV price hike was found to be a financial burden, the Ministry will take it into consideration and take necessary steps to solve that problem.

Mr Pichai said that PTT Public Company Limited, a major NGV retailer, has so far accumulated Bt40 billion in losses in maintaining the NGV price. In 2011 alone PTT lost Bt24 billion, a factor that contributed its inability to increase the number of NGV service stations.