In Thailand English-language News for May 2, 2018, Newsline presenter Cholaphansa Narula tells us about:
00:43 | The Cabinet has approved in principle the draft law on Forced Labor Prevention and Suppression as Thailand prepares to ratify the 2014 Protocol to the 1930 International Labor Organization’s (ILO) Forced Labor Convention in June.
Meanwhile, at the same Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha instructed all ministries to quickly compile information to proceed with the preparation of ‘big data’, and also urged a quick completion to virtual city planning so that the public can obtain a clearer understanding of all development efforts.
Additionally, Nattaporn Jatusripitak advisor to the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), reported yesterday that the Cabinet had approved the extension of tax incentives for people, as well as non-juristic partnerships and groups of people, to become registered with the tax department until December 31, 2018.
New juristic persons and entities can deduct expenses such as accounting and auditing costs from income tax payments for five consecutive years. The Ministry of Finance (MoF) expects the incentives to cost the government Bt80 million (about US$2,524 mln) annually over the five-year period.
03:53 | Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday moved to calm controversy surrounding a housing project for judges and court staff constructed on the lower slopes of Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai Province. General Chan-o-cha said a group led by Minister attached to the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), Suwaphan Tanyuvardhana, has been established to take appropriate action. In the meantime he asked those opposed to the project not to use the word “ultimatum”.
05:17 | Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday expressed his disagreement with a protest planned for May 5 by a group of pro-election activists to demand the government organise a general election, saying that the government had already affirmed that the poll will be held in 2019.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister General Anupong Paochinda yesterday refuted claims that the government had been attempting to lure former members of parliament (MPs) to join a new political party that it is allegedly planning to form.
However, Sudarat Keyuraphan, a key member of the Pheu Thai Party (PTP), said that some of her party members had been invited to join another party, but they declined due to political pledges made with the people.
07:35 | Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday told workers gathered at Lan Khon Mueang in front of Bangkok City Hall for May Day celebrations that the government is determined to solve problems associated with the labour force, but it does not have a big enough budget to solve all of their problems concurrently.
General Prayut Chan-o-cha urged labourers to develop their capability, saying that the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) mega-project is a good opportunity for them to transform themselves into a highly skilled labour force.
Meanwhile, the Labour Congress of Thailand presented ten “demands” to the government, including revision of the Labor Protection Act B.E.2541, a Bt5,000 (about US$157.75) per month pension increase, mandatory provident fund schemes, and enactment of laws to protect informal workers.
09:04 | More than 1,000 residents in Bueng Kan Province yesterday took part in a walk to raise awareness of human trafficking and to raise awareness of the importance of workers as a driving force for society and the economy.
12:33 | The Bank of Thailand (BoT) has forecast that the Thai economy will grow by 4 per cent in the first quarter of 2018 due to strong export growth and inbound foreign tourism. However, the BoT cautioned that consumer spending remains weak, especially among low income earners, whose earnings declined in March .
13:28 | A survey on the price of 422 items by the Trade Policy and Strategy Office (TPSO) found that Thailand’s inflation rate had increased for a tenth consecutive month, with April recording a 14-month high of 1.07 per cent. Among the items monitored the price of 239 items increased, while prices fell on 112 items. Seventy-one items saw no change in price. For the first four months of 2018 Thailand’s inflation rate was 0.75 per cent.
TPSO director, Pimchanok Vonkorpon, yesterday predicted that the inflation rate will rise in the second quarter as businesses adjust their prices in line with energy premiums, adding that the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) expects full 2018 year inflation to come in at between 0.7 and 1.7 per cent.
14:53 | Director of the Rubber Authority of Thailand (RAOT) Yala office, Surachai Boonwanno, and his team have visited rubber farmers in Lam Mai sub-district to follow up on the government’s assistance programme.
Participants in the programme receive Bt10,000 (about US$315.63) per 1,600 square meters (about 17,222 sq.ft.) of land, capped at 16,000 square meters, to replace rubber trees with alternative crops to generate additional revenue. The programme runs until May 31.
16:07 | Worawit Boonyanet, director of the Bang Ban Operation and Maintenance Project of the Royal Irrigation Department (RID) said yesterday that water has begun being discharged into 12 retention fields (‘monkey cheeks’) in the Chao Phraya Basin to serve as reservoirs so that farmers can begin planing rice one month earlier than usual.
17:27 | The government Public Relations Department (PRD) yesterday held its second meeting on ‘big data’ management, aimed at driving the department into the 4.0 digital era.
The PRD ‘big data’ systems consists of seven databases integrating all aspects of the agency’s work to enhance productivity efficiency.
18:32 | Newsline looks at the Thai poultry export market and a recent initiative by the Department of Livestock Development (DLD) to open up exports to Yunnan Province, China. Thailand is the third largest chicken meat exporter globally. Chicken meat exports are expected to generate about Bt20 billion (about US$631 mln) in combined export value under the China “One Belt One Road’ policy.
21:30 | Chinese premier Li Keqiang will make an official visit to Indonesia, Japan, and attend the 7th China–Japan–South Korea trilateral meeting in Tokyo from May 6-11.
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. AEC News Today publishes Thailand English-language News M-F.