Advance Blog

February 25, 2022
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 25 February 2022

News

Newly confirmed casesTotal CasesDeath tollHospitalised/ intensive care patients
24,932 Domestic +24,765 Abroad+1672,819,282 ( since January 2021)41190,110  
Total vaccination1st dose vaccine recipients (28 Jan -24 Feb)2nd dose vaccine recipients (28 Jan -24 Feb)3rd dose vaccine recipients (28 Jan -24 Feb)
122,779,134(+305,763)53,3971,481 (+74,834  yesterday) 76.7 %49,622,858 (+39,874 yesterday) 71.3 %19,424,111 (+190,995 yesterday) 28.5%

  Sources : Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) and Department of Control 

Covid situation/Change regulation

  • The Public Health Ministry is setting its sights on declaring the spread of the coronavirus disease as endemic within the next four months, said its top official adding  the fatalities were 10 times lower and studies suggested they will be slashed in half again if 60%-70% of elderly people get a third jab. Bangkokpost  Manager
  • No travel restrictions will be imposed as people will be able to celebrate the traditional Thai New Year’s Day in a way as close to normal as possible, according to National Security Council Secretary-General, who chairs the CCSA operations centre  ThaiPBS

Political news

  • Four versions of election-related bills passed their first reading in Parliament on Thursday.The bills would change the single-ballot election system to two ballots and increase constituency MPs from 350 to 400 while reducing party-list MPs from 150 to 100.The new laws are needed to reflect earlier changes made to the Constitution. ThaNation
  • Cholnan, also the leader of the main opposition Pheu Thai Party, submitted the three charter amendment bills to Parliament President Chuan Leekpai. One of the bills seeks to amend Section 159 and 160 of the 2019 Constitution, adding a requirement that the prime minister must be an MP. TheNation

Russia- Ukraine conflict movement in Thailand

  • Orel Pavlo, Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy of Ukraine in Thailand  contributed Opinion to Thai enquirer urging we Thai government to make a strong statement in support of Ukraine and condemn the criminal actions of the Russian Federation. You can read  full article here

             ASEAN nations have stayed conspicuously silent with  amidst the call to give a sanction to Russia over its conflict with Ukraine . For Thailand, where Russian tourists make up a large proportion of tourists, made a minor statement expressing concern and hoping for peace. Thaienquirer

  • The Thai embassy in Warsaw, Poland, has established an operations centre at a hotel in the Ukrainian city of Lviv, near the border with Poland, to serve as a temporary shelter for about 253 Thais who may be evacuated from their workplaces in Ukraine, according to an announcement by the embassy. Thaipbs

Economic News

Akara Mine

  • Akara Resources disclosed that the TAFTA tribunal between Kingsgate and the Thai government is still ongoing.  However, the tribunal had advised both sides to negotiate and reach a settlement rather than engage in a lawsuit.  On this ground, the tribunal period is extended for another 6 months – 1 year. 
  • Akara Resources confirmed that its licenses to operate gold and silver mines were renewed for another 10 years (30 Dec 2022 – 29 Dec 2032).  The company had taken legitimate steps to lodge the application and it took 3 years before approval was granted.  Akara Resources also confirmed that its Metallurgical Processing License were also renewed for another 5 years (19 Jan 2022 – 18 Jan 2027).  With this, Akara expects to repair its factories and resume operation in the next 5 months using a budget of 500 million Baht.  There may be slight delays due to COVID-19 situation and in the importation of various machinery parts. 
  • Villagers living around the gold mine and Akara Resources employees travelled from Pichit province to meet Ministry Industry representative to thank the Ministry for allowing Akara mines to reopen.  The villagers, of which 80-90 percent are employees of Akara Resources, said they welcome the revival of the mines as they generate income and employment during this off-peak agricultural season.  Some villagers are admittedly concerned about pollution, but noted the issue has no scientific proofs.  Sources:  Krungthep Turakij newspaper, 25 February 2022, Prachachart Turakij   Baan Muang Daily News Manager Online
  • Villagers also demanded for ease of access to the risk insurance fund set up by Akara Resources such that villagers can withdraw money from the fund to develop their areas. Industry Ministry confirmed it will issue regulations to allow villagers to have easier access to the 85-million-Baht risk insurance fund set up by Akara Resources.  Source:  MCOT
  • The Civic Group for Reform of Resources and Gold met with the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) in Pichit province, asking them to investigate Justice Minister Somsak and former DSI DG Paisit and his team for their negligence of Akara Resources investigations.  The Civic Group had previously asked DSI to investigate Akara Resources on the grounds of tax evasion, money laundering, the use of proxy ‘nominee’ shareholders, pollution and operating its mines beyond the licensed territory.  They also asked the Justice Minister to oversee DSI’s work, but no progress was ,ade.  Recently the Group learned that several of their accusations on Akara Resources were omitted from DSI’s case files and decided to seek legal actions against both the heads of Justice Ministry and DSI.  Source: The Nation

Others

  • Energy Ministry (MoE) has prepared for an oil crisis after Russia invaded Urkaine yesterday.  Energy Ministry is particularly concerned about global energy prices that will soar due to limited supply, but affirmed Thailand will not be affected by oil shortage since it imports only 13 percent of oil and LNG from Russia.  MoE added that Thailand has an oil reserve to last 2 months.  The invasion also caused Thai shares to plunge to below 1,600 points and hiked up the price of gold by 1,100 Baht.  Source:  Krunthep Turakij  newspaper, 25 January 2022 Bangkok Post
  • Federation of Thai Industries expects the Russia-Ukraine violence to affect global economies and eventually Thai exports of cars, which has already dropped by -5.8 percent in January due to the global semi conductor shortage.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Finance Ministry is considering borrowing 16 billion Baht (500 million USD) from Japan who has offered Thailand a loan package with low interest.  The borrowing would be made as part of the 500 billion Baht loan, which the government has authorised through its second emergency loan last year.  Of the 500 billion Baht loan, there is currently 100 billion Baht left of unused loan.  Finance Minister Akhom insists priority would be given to borrowing from domestic source.  Source: Prachachart Turakij
  • Thailand’s public debt is projected to increase to 62 percent of GDP in FY2022, from 59.6 percent as of December 2021.  This forecast is made based on the assumption that that government fully borrows 500 billion Baht under the second emergency loan, GDP grows by 4 percent and budget deficit is 700 billion Baht.  Source:  Bangkok Post

Office of the Trade Competition Commission of Thailand expects companies to undertake more merger & acquisition this year, which will result in greater market dominance or unfair trade practices by the large conglomerates.  As such, OTCC is looking to create opportunities for SMEs to enter the market.  For this year, the OTCC also aims to closely regulate e-commerce platforms and will use technologies to develop databases as tools to analyse market structure.  Sources:  Krungthep Turakij newspaper, 25 February 2022, Bangkok Post

The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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