Thai junta says no intention to hinder businesses

Thai junta says no intention to hinder businesses
File photo of an aerial view of Bangkok's skyline.

The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) yesterday assured key economic agencies and leading private organisations that it would allow all economic activities to continue without interruption and it would also consider measures to stimulate the country's growth.

NCPO deputy spokesman Nattawat Chancharoen said the meeting, led by Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha and Air Chief Marshal Prajin Juntong, had ordered concerned agencies to arrange funds for paying the Bt92 billion (S$3.5 billion) overdue debt to farmers within a month. Farmers should start to get payment within two days. The NCPO also ordered all involved agencies to submit progress reports to the NCPO.

As an urgent measure, the NCPO will also approve budget disbursement for the 2014-15 fiscal year, which is scheduled to start in October this year.

Sources at the meeting said that other issues discussed included promoting economic growth following the upcoming ASEAN Economic Community, enhance cross-border trade, set up a Board of Investment committee, and discuss value-added tax and corporate tax to ensure business growth.

Somchart Soithong, director-general at the Internal Trade Department, said that the Army chief had ordered the Commerce Ministry to pay rice farmers their dues within a month. The funding source is not a problem any longer because the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives has already provided from its own reserves Bt40 billion, while the Finance Ministry has been ordered to find the balance Bt50 billion from financial institutions to pay dues to about 800,000 farmers.

The NCPO also encouraged the ministry to promote export growth and boost foreign investor confidence.

Bank of Thailand Governor Prasarn Trairatvorakul said after his meeting with the NCPO that the council had urged all economic agencies to report on the development of the economy. He said the BOT would today announce its economic plans and details of the meeting that took place yesterday.

Twatchai Yongkittikul, secretary-general of the Thai Bankers Association, said the NCPO told heads of government and private economic institutions to deal with two issues on priority: payment to rice farmers under the pledging scheme, and the government annual budget for 2015.

He said short-term investors have most likely lowered their investment in the Kingdom, but the prospects of long-term investors is still unclear and the actual impact of the coup on the market will be visible at the end of the second quarter.

Isara Vongkusolkit, chairman at the Board of Trade, said the council had agreed to work closely with private enterprises to increase foreign investor confidence.

Supan Mongkolsuthee, president of the Federation of Thai Industries, said the NCPO had told private enterprises that it would promote economic growth and allow economic activities to go on independently.

Piyamarn Techapaibul, president of the Tourism Council of Thailand, said the tourism sector has been hit by the coup. The council had proposed exempting curfew in some tourism provinces such as Pattaya, Krabi and Phuket.



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