In Thailand English-language News for January 4, 2018, Newsline presenter Sandra Hanutsaha tells us about:
00:41 | Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha on Wednesday denied claims that the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) is attempting to delay the planned general election. He added that political parties should not worry about whether they will be able to complete the administrative tasks and the membership database updates required. He also said that he has no wish to enter politics.
01:49 | Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha on Wednesday met with the UK’s Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), Mark Field, to discuss bilateral relations between the two countries, which stretches back 400 years.
General Chan-o-cha said that Thailand is ready to cooperate with the UK in various fields to increase trade and investor confidence between the two countries in the near future. Meanwhile, Mr Field commended Thailand on its vision for food security and economic development.
03:19 | Deputy government spokesperson Colonel Taksada Sangkachantra said on Wednesday that the Cabinet has agreed to extend the deadline for verifying the nationality of foreign workers until June 30, from March 31, as proposed by the Ministry of Labor (MoL).
04:44 | Nattaporn Jatusripitak, advisor to the Minister attached to the Prime Minister’s Office, said that the Cabinet has approved the draft regulation on new toll rates for motorists using Highway Number 7 also known as the Bangkok-Chon Buri-Pattaya Motorway. Nine toll collecting points will be established.
The new fee is Bt105 (about US$3.24) for four-wheel vehicles, Bt170 ($5.24) for six-wheel vehicles, and Bt245 ($7.56) for vehicles with more than six wheels.
06:07 | The government has extended its tax exemption policy for new business through until December 31, 2018. Those who qualify for tax exemption must have paid in capital on their last day of the accounting period of no more than Bt5 million (about US$154,000) and had income within the accounting period of no more than Bt30 million ($926,000). The company must also have earned income from goods and services that falls within the government’s targeted industries.
07:13 | Speaking on Thailand Moves Forward, deputy permanent secretary for Justice Tawachai Thaikiew has outlined measures the government is taking to improve the general populations understanding of law, urging the public to learn the most necessary parts of the legal code and understand the legal process to avoid violation.
08:40 | The low temperatures being experienced at Doi Inthanon is attracting scores of tourists to experience the bracing conditions. On January 2 some 14,000 people visited the mountain, where temperatures at the peak were recorded at 6C (about 43F).
09:45 | Newsline takes a look at the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s (TAT) ‘Elite Residency’ programme that offers a 20 year multiple entry visa to wealthy foreigners who wish to stay in Thailand long term.
15:57 | The Ministry of Commerce (MoC) has indicated that inflation in December 2017 decreased from the previous month, but the annual average was 0.66 per cent higher year-on-year. Fresh fruit and vegetables suffered from oversupply, while pork, chicken, chicken eggs, and rice saw reduced demand in December.
For 2018 the MoC forecasts an annual inflation rate of between 0.6-1.6 per cent, while 2018 Thailand GDP is forecast at between 3.5-4.0 per cent. The Thai baht is forecast to trade between Bt33-Bt35 per US dollar.
17:36 | The Government Savings Banks Research Center (GSBRC) has forecast that Thailand’s economy in 2018 will grow by 4.6 per cent. The growth is said to be obtainable with support from the export and services sectors, coupled with increasing tourist arrivals. Moreover, the government’s economic stimulus measures are expected to expand domestic consumption and investment.
Other factors contributing to the country’s economic growth include global trade and economic expansions, as well as an increase in private sector investment following the expansion of the export sector. However, the slowdown in rural sector growth and high household debt may dampen consumer spending.
18:55 | The Zoological Park committee tasked with studying the relocation of Dusit Zoo expects the process to take at least 2-3 years. The new 48 hectare (about 118 acre) zoo will be located on Klong 6 in Thanyaburi district, Pathum Thani.
20:33 | Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha will travel to Cambodia on January 10 to attend the second Lancang-Mekong Cooperation meeting. Leaders of the six member countries are expected to sign a joint statement on the implementation of a five-year operational plan to achieve a number of objectives improving increasing the economic and social development of those living along the Mekong River.
21:41 | Myanmar State media announced yesterday that the minimum daily wage is set to increase to Bt115 (about $US 3.5). The increase comes as Aung San Suu Kyi’s civilian government struggles to project economic progress after almost two years in power.
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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. AEC News Today publishes Thailand English-language News M-F.