- Updates related to COVID-19:
- Today, Thailand reports 9 newly confirmed cases, a total of 3,054 cases. Out of the total number, 2,931 have been discharged from hospital; 66 are being hospitalised. The death toll is at 57. All the new cases are in state quarantine, returning from aboard.
- Cabinet approved the extension of the emergency decree to be enforced until the end of June, despite calls from oppositions and businesses to scrap the decree as the numbers of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases is in single digit for days.
- Yesterday, the PM held a national address elaborating on the significance of extending emergency decree and thank Thai billionaires who the government reached out earlier on to assist in dealing with COVID-19.—all media outlet
- CNN article on “Why Thailand isn’t reopening to international tourists yet”–CNN
- An opinion piece on sharing pantry as an economic response to COVID-19 in Thailand.–TCIJ
- The House is set to begin their debate on the loan bills today, with ruling and opposition MPs are getting ready for the debates.—all media outlet
- Spokesperson of the Move Forward Party said they are seeking the impeachment of MP and Deputy Agriculture Minister Thamanat Prompaw over his criminal record in Australia. The MPs aims to file to the motion to the House Speaker and the Constitutional Court.—all media outlet.
- House largest and the main opposition Pheu Thai Party said its candidate has pulled out of a by-election in Constituency 4 of Lampang province scheduled for June 20, despite having a greater chance of beating the main ruling Phalang Pracharath Party (PPRP).—all media outlet
- The CARE Group led by Phumtham, an adviser to the leader of Pheu Thai Party is reportedly going to hold talks with more than 30 party members. Next week, the group will launch an online forum via Twitter and Facebook to publicise its ideas on various aspects.
- Pro-government Nation Group media reported that this might be a “come-back plot” of the ousted and self-exiled former PM Thaksin to return to power.—Kurngthep turakij, Nation Weekend
PM Prayut’s televised broadcast, 26 May
- PM Prayut instituted a 30-percent quota on all state procurement budgets to purchase local products from SMEs and MSMEs, which must also comply with WTO regulations. Relevant agencies must send him reports that they have fulfilled this requirement by year-end.
- Government agencies are to spend their meeting budgets on local hotels and other venues to give additional income to the hard-hit tourism and travel sectors.
- He noted that employees in some business sectors have not been receiving social security benefits if they close voluntarily. He noted that the problem has been fixed. Source: https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/1924652/pm-looks-to-bolster-smes
Cabinet’s Decisions, 26 May 2020
- A 39.42 billion Baht budget is set aside as cash-handout to the 13.14 million ‘vulnerable’ people, comprising children up to 6 years old; and the elderly and disabled people. They will be paid 1,000 Baht monthly for three months, until July. This will supplement their existing aid payments.
- Civil servants who also work as farmers are deemed ineligible for Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperative’s cash-handout, which is intended for full-time farmers.
- A panel was appointed to follow-up on Thai Airway’s rehabilitation plan, headed by Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam.
- A committee will be established to consider whether Thailand should join the CPTPP and report back to PM Prayut with a conclusion in 30 days. Deputy government spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek reiterated that the lower house panel will open for public opinions, and that the objective is to decide if Thailand should negotiate the accession process. Thailand will not be signing any documents, reflecting that no commitments have been made.
- Ministry of Finance is delegated to concoct additional financial aids for SMEs, as well as to ensure they can access the 500 billion Baht soft-loan. MoF will present at the next cabinet meeting the budget, interest rate and loan limit.
- A 10-billion Baht loan will be extended to those operating in the fishery sector
- The 2021 budget worth 3.3 trillion Baht is approved in principle. On 16 June, it will be presented for the cabinet’s consideration and submitted to the parliament. Sources: https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/1924668/b39bn-for-handouts-gets-nod https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/1924644/court-to-rule-whether-to-accept-thai-rehab-petition https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30388577 https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1924584/govt-to-consider-joining-asia-pacific-trade-pact-in-a-month
- The committee for SME development funds, chaired by Ministry of Industry, under the Pracha Rat scheme has approved loans worth 1.7 billion Baht for 10,000 businesses to combat the drought and pandemic. The SME Development Bank will provide the loans, for which applications close on July 31. Since 2017, the government has approved soft loans under the Pracha Rat fund of 20 billion Baht for SMEs following the Thailand 4.0 initiative. Source: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1924796/panel-okays-b1-7bn-for-10-000-smes
- Thailand’s rubber glove export surged by 16 percent to USD 449.2 million from January – April YoY. In particular, shipments to markets with which the gloves can be exported free of tariff under FTAs reported healthy growth, ie: exports to Australia increased by 79 percent at USD 9.60 million and China by 129.5 percent to USD31 million. Commerce Ministry’s Department of Trade Negotiations attributes the rise in rubber glove exports to Thailand having developed a complete supply chain for the industry. In 2019, Thailand was the third-largest rubber glove exporter. Sources: https://www.thaigov.go.th/news/contents/details/31519 https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1924800/rubber-glove-exports-get-pandemic-boost
- Thailand plans to adapt its production of medical equipment in response to WTO’s call seeking for collaboration in the production and liberalisation of medical devices. WTO’s report urges members to relax trade barriers and liberalise access to medical products such as medicines, hand sanitisers and medical masks to combat Covid-19. Last year, Thailand exported medical products worth USD3.656 billion to key markets such as the US, Vietnam and Japan.
- To this end, the Thai Garment Manufacturers Association (TGMA) asked the government to set up labs for testing medical masks, PPE and other textile products. It also urged the government to improve the manufacturing standards for these products in an effort that is expected to cost 100 million Baht. TGMA also asked the government for a soft loan of 3 billion Baht to help the industry branch into medical products as a way to survive. Source: https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30388486
- The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperative has been publicizing that anyone in possession of paraquat and chlorpyrifos from June 1 onwards will be fined 1 million Baht and jailed for 10 years. This was disseminated to farmers in all 4 regions of Thailand through mobile billboard and communicated through community leaders. Source: https://www.thansettakij.com/content/Macro_econ/435675
- Local media reported that the Investigation Division 2 has been coordinated by a lawyer of Australian citizen who was tricked by a group of Thais and foreigners (a French and a German) in Pattaya.—Pattaya News