Advance Blog

April 29, 2020
Australian Embassy

Headline summary as of 29th April 2020

News

  • Updates related to COVID-19:
    • Today, Thailand reports nine newly confirmed cases, the total of 2,947 cases. Out of the total cases, 2,665 patients have recovered and total 54 death toll.
    • Turmoil broke out outside the Finance Ministry’s yesterday after a woman decided to lie down in front of the ministry’s entrance in protest that she has yet been granted the 5000-baht cash handout by the ministry. Earlier last week, there was another woman drank poison claiming to commit suicide in front of the Ministry.—all media outlet
    • In a weekly cabinet meeting, the Cabinet decided not to postpone the holidays but advised the public to stay at home and refrain from travelling out of their provinces.—all media outlet
    • The cabinet decided that the easing of business closure to be reopened will be conducted in a phasing manner. Each phase will be 14 days apart. Despite the speculation earlier, the cabinet has not laid out the exact dates of the reopening.—all media outlet
    • Bangkok Metropolitan Administration has decided that they are planning to re-open 8 businesses (restaurants, markets, sport venues, parks, beauty salons, pet clinics, hospitals and golf courts), but it have to wait until they got the green light from the central government.
    • The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) on Tuesday suggested that the alcohol sales ban be renewed starting from May 3. The current ban expires on April 30, meaning there would be a “grace period” of two days from May 1-2 before the ban restarts on May 3.—Bangkok Post
  • Deputy PM and Minister of Public Health Anutin , echoing the requests by civil societies, said that the ban on agricultural chemicals enforcing on 1 June should not be postponed, despite the request by the Thai Chamber of Commerce to postpone the ban to be from 31 December, citing diffulty amidst the COVID-19 situation.—Manager, Bangkok Post

Politics

  • This morning media asked Deputy PM Prawit, who reportedly orchestrated executives reshuffle of the main ruling Palang Pracharat Party, about the wedge within the party. He replied that there is no conflict and he affirmed that there is no change in the leader and secretary-general positions.—Krungthep Turakij
  • The rift within the main ruling Palang Pracharat has attracted media attention:
    • An article elaborates on the rift as a ‘coup’ to clip the power of coalition partners. Whether the plan can be proceeded or not, depends very much on PM Prayut’s take on this plot.–thisRupt
    • “No time for party discord”-Bangkok Post

Business

Cabinet’s Decisions on 28 April

  • The number of 5,000 Baht cash handout recipients is expanded to 16 million people from 14 million to cover a broader range of self-employed people, with the total budget of 240 billion baht.  The initial handout period is set to span 3 months from 24 March – 30 June 2020.
  • Farmers will receive financial assistance of 5,000 Baht per month for 3 months from May – July 2020.  The government had set a budget of 150 billion Baht to cover an estimated 10 million farmer households.  Of this figure, 8.4 million families are already registered with the Ministry of Agriculture’s database.  The remaining 1.6 million farmers can register with the government database until 15 May.
  • An additional 458 million Baht is approved for the tapioca price guarantee scheme for fiscal year 2020-21, an increase from the 9.6 billion Baht budget.  The additional budget will be handled by the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives.
  • The government will pay the 2 million registered disabled people 1,000 Baht each.  The welfare for some 120,000 disabled people with cards registered for a period of 18 years is raised to 1,000 Baht from 800 Baht per month, starting from 1 October.

Source:  Thai Government fb page 28 April

https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/1909376#cxrecs_s

www.nationthailand.com/news/30386967

  • The cabinet approved an action plan for food processing industry development for 2019-27 with the budget of 6.6 billion Baht.  The action plan aims to upgrade Thailand to become a processed food hub in ASEAN and the top 10 global food exporters by 2027.  The goal is to upgrade the processing of targeted food industries, biofood and use digital technology to support innovative food.  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1909476/cabinet-gives-green-light-to-food-processing-plan
  • A special tax package is approved to draw manufacturing plants to Thailand.  Tax deductions will be applicable to investments in automation and the hiring and training of high-skilled workers, with tax break varying between 50 and 150 percent of their actual expenses.  The package is subjected to final approval from the cabinet.  Source: http://www.nationthailand.com/business/30386940

One-month summary for the 5,000 Baht cash-handout scheme

  • A total of 24 million applicants have registered for the cash hand-out, but 1.7 million were rejected because they did not to pass identity authentication.  As a result, 16 million people are approved as recipients. 
  • Of the 16 million recipients, 10.6 million have passed the criteria.  Some 7.5 million received the handout from 8 April to 29 April, with the remaining 480,000 million set to receive it on 30 April and 260,000 million in the first week of May.
  • Disqualified applicants comprise farmers (4.2 million), civil servants who are receiving welfare and workers covered by social security fund (1.1 million) and those who cancelled their applications (950,000). Sources:  https://www.mof.go.th https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1909604/stipends-due-to-16m-applicants

Others

  • Dr Supavudh Saicheua, adviser to Kiatnakin Phatra Financial Group, said Thailand is vulnerable to a second wave of Covid19 infection during the rainy season in June.  Economic losses could result in 10 percent GDP contraction and the one-month lockdown in Thailand would cause export to decline by 5%; tourism and services by 30-40%; the automotive by 20% and real estate sector by 20-30%. Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1909536/10-contraction-seen-from-renewed-outbreak

Aviation

  • Two airlines, Nok Air and Thai Viet Jet, have been flying the domestic routes, with Air Asia and Lion Air set to resume their flights on 1 May. 
  • In the second week of April (12-18 April), the number of international passengers dropped by 51.8 percent and domestic passengers by 47.7 percent.  This is the lowest passenger load factor since the pandemic outbreak.  The total number of flight cancellations as of 20 April was 144,201, equivalent to 26.9 percent of the number of flights scheduled to fly in the summer of 2020. 
  • International cargo airfreight dropped 1.5 percent to the volume of 12,781 tonnes, particularly at Don Muang airport.  Domestic cargo airfreight declined by 43.6 percent to 71 tonnes from the previous week, except for Nakhon Si Thammarat airport that saw an 8.7 percent increase to 4 tonnes.  Source: https://www.thansettakij.com/content/business/431851?fbclid=IwAR1dD2eBBJMvmTSNOmXDEjrE2AE7Z6ugQd9HxsfZY_UZf8n5WtrNG8V63Zw

ASEAN/World

  • US President Trump said the US will hold a thorough investigation into China over the pandemic and that “COVID-19 reparations” is coming.—Thai Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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