In Thailand English-language News for April 17, 2017, Newsline presenter Dhra Dhirakaosal tells us about:
• Members of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) have commenced studying two of the organic laws which need to be in place before a Thailand general election can take place. The draft election commission act and the draft political party act are scheduled to be discussed on Friday, April 21, after which the assembly will have up to 60-days to order revisions before having to vote on them.
• National Legislative Assembly (NLA) President, Pornpetch Vichitcholchai, has denied that legislation to be tabled on Thursday, April 20, is aimed at enabling the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to continue its presence in politics, or to entrench military rule for years to come. The legislation to be introduced relates to proposals by the Cabinet regarding national reform and national development, under which the Thai military has created a 20-year plan.
• Constitutional Drafting Commission (CDC) chairman, Meechai Ruchupan, has confirmed that the draft political party act and the draft election commission act will be delivered to the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) as scheduled on Tuesday, April 18. He said that he was confident the two pieces of legislation will pass the assembly, despite some disagreement on some of the contents. Two additional organic laws necessary before a Thailand general election can be held will take six months to draft, he said.
• Thailand government spokesperson, Lieutenant General Sansern Kaewkamnerd, says Thais are believed to have spent more than Bt8-Bt16 billion (about US$234-$467 million) between April 13 and 17, a year-on-year increase of between 12 and 14 per cent over 2016. The figure is calculated based on the increased number of flights and the occupancy levels at hotels across the country. Additionally, he reasoned, the Thai Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) was at 76.8 in March, the highest level in two years, while the agricultural sector had seen increased purchasing power due to higher prices. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is reportedly delighted with the increase cash in circulation over the period, interpreting it as signs of a strengthening economy, he said.
• The Transport Company Ltd. and the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) have increased parking facilities to help reduce congestion around Mor Chit bus terminal as Songkran revellers return from the north and northeast of Thailand. The Department of Land Transport (DLT) has rostered additional staff and warned taxis not to overcharge passengers. A 24-hour a day help line has been established to assist travellers.
• Songkran revellers returning to Bangkok have complimented the service they have experienced with public transport operators during the period, with no complaints having been lodged so far.
• The Road Safety Directing Centre’s (RSDCs) report for April 15, the third day of Songkran 2017, shows that drunk driving remained the major cause of motor vehicle crashes on the day. Most crashes involved motorcyclists, followed by pickup trucks. Refusing to wear a safety helmet was a major contributing factor to fatalities. Today is the last of the ‘seven deadly days’ of Songkran 2017, which up until the start of the day had seen 283 people killed on Thailand’s roads, a 17 per cent year-on-year fall over 2016.
• The Faculty of Economics at Rangsit University has forecast Thailand GDP for the first quarter (Q1) of 2017 will reach 3.4-3.5 per cent on the back of increased government spending on infrastructure projects and a significant recovery in the investment sector. For Q2_2017 vice president for Research and Academic Service Affairs at Rangsit University, Anusorn Tamajai, forecast growth of between 3.7-3.8 per cent due to increasing consumption on the back of decreasing household debt and higher agricultural income.
• The failure to submit a financial return for three consecutive years has seen the Department of Business Development (DBD) deregister 5,106 companies. Individuals and companies are urged to check the status of juristic persons they wish to do business with to help minimise fraud. The deregistered organisations can be found on the department’s website.
• The government’s Damrongtham Center has successfully negotiated a conflict between residents and a Woodland wood processing factory in Pathum Thani over dust polluting the surrounding area. The company will overhaul the entire factory as a long-term solution, in the meantime installing a dust filter.
• NBT World looks at increasing cross-border trade in Chiang Mai, which has two border crossings with Myanmar and one with Lao PDR.
• Thailand Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn, said she expects Thai imports to Israel this year to increase 1- 1.5 per cent, lead by automotive parts and accessories, in addition to gems and food products. Last year Israel was the world’s fourth largest importer of Thai products, and Thailand’s fifth largest trading partner.
• and more.
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Newsline is a daily Thailand English-language news and current affairs programme produced by the National News Bureau of Thailand (NNBT) under the Thailand Government Public Relations Department (PRD) for *NBT World, the NNBTs 24/7 English language television service delivering Thailand government news and information to the Thai, Asean, and wider Asian communities via cable and satellite. It is also available via android and iOS apps. AEC News Today publishes Thailand English-language News M-F.