Credit cards for farmers to be launched by Nov 1
The Yingluck government’s programme to offer credit cards
for farmers will be launched by Nov 1, fulfilling one of the major campaign
promises that the Pheu Thai Party pledged to the grassroots that helped it
win the July election.
Luck Wajananawat, manager of the Bank for Agriculture and
Agricultural Co-operatives (BAAC), recently spoke of the progress being made
toward the launch.
The committee set up by the BAAC agreed to contract a
credit card system, including equipment, managed by a service provider for
three years, with a budget of Bt1 billion. Rental fees have been set at
Bt648 billion including issuing 3 million credit cards with a Bt360-million
A ‘smart card’ system will be used for security
Techniques, processes for checking transparency, and
fiscal control are the main criteria for the appropriate service provider to
be selected. Competitors must have scores of at least 80 in order to pass to
the next round for their prices to be considered.
This project’s management system will include
registration, credit cards issuance, partners of contract, credit limits,
and debt payment.
According to Luck, the BAAC credit cards in their initial
phase will be limited to payment for agricultural production costs from
varied cooperatives and over 3,000 stores affiliated with the BAAC
nationwide, with the number reaching 5,000 shops in the following years.
The cards will offer a maximum 70 percent loan limit in
accordance with the value of each farmer-debtor’s product for sale, while
carrying a 7 percent interest rate, or zero percent in case a subsidy is
provided by the government.
Other benefits include annual fee exemption, a 30-day
interest-free period, free life insurance of no more than Bt100,000,
emergency cash loans of Bt10,000, and special interest rates for cash
Promotions from networked stores cover discounts,
point-of-sale collections for gifts or other rewards.
In the second phase, farmers will be able to withdraw
cash, make payments along with other services as offered by other service
The BAAC manager said some Bt20 billion is expected in
the credit system in the first year, whereas Bt44.6 billion is forecast in
the second year, and about Bt70 billion in the third year, respectively.
Chonburi must improve workforce, Internet use to become MICE center, deputy governor says
Pongsak Preechawith addresses a tourism and business representatives meeting in
Chonburi must improve its labor force and make better use of
the Internet if it hopes to become a legitimate center for international
conventions and business meetings, the province’s deputy governor told a tourism
and business representatives meeting in Pattaya.
At a Sept. 6 Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and
Exhibitions Tourism meeting at the Hotel J, Deputy Governor Pongsak Preechawith
said government and the private sector must collaborate to raise the service
levels and business skills of workers and provide more and better information
online in order to become a MICE center.
Pongsak cited a 2009 World Economic Forum study which rated
Thailand only 39th in the world as a tourism destination due in large part to
its government and the country’s basic level of hotel and tourism service.
While the study did say that the Eastern Seaboard’s strong
transportation infrastructure - with easy links to two airports and the
country’s major seaport - makes it an attractive venue, the relatively poor
foreign-language skills of its workers and their unfamiliarity with the MICE
market put the area at a disadvantage.
“The labor force is still considered subpar by MICE standards
and does not have a proper understanding of MICE tourists, who are different
from conventional tourists,” Pongsak said.
Another factor that needs improvement is the government and
private sector’s use of the Internet as a media for disseminating information
But with Thailand again finally seeing a growth in tourists -
15.9 million in 2010, up from less than 14.5 million in 2008 and 2009, the
country still has potential to attract more people, the deputy governor said.
Nova Group hotels featured at German-Thai Chamber meeting
The general manager for three Nova Group hotels provided
an overview of the resorts at the September meeting of the German-Thai
Chamber of Commerce.
Michael Procher, top man at Amari Nova Suites, Nova Gold
and Nova Platinum, said Amari, which manages the three properties, chose to
work with Pattaya’s home-grown Nova Group because it “is one of the most
successful und reliable development and construction companies … well known
for its high quality.”
Dr. Florian Kirschner.
The top hotel in the trio is the Amari Nova Suites, he
said. It offers 77 rooms and excellent service and facilities. The Nova Gold
also offers 77 rooms that are comfortably furnished and provide a computer
in each room. And the Nova Platinum has three buildings and 270 rooms near
Chamber members took in all the hotel information before enjoying a
buffet dinner around the Nova Platinum’s pool.
Isolde Felskau from the German
Embassy and Peter Wolf, acting
director of BMW in deep conversation.
Dr. Paul Strunk, the German
consul with its wife Uschi and other guests of the German-Thai Chamber.
Cabinet approves Bt350 billion deficit budget for 2012 fiscal year
The Cabinet on Tuesday approved a budget deficit of Bt350
billion for the 2012 fiscal year, starting Oct 1, according to Finance
Minister Thirachai Phuvanatnaranubala.
Of the total budget, annual government spending was
approved at Bt2.33 trillion, an increase of 7.4 percent from the fiscal 2011
budget at Bt2.1 trillion.
The investment budget, counting for 16.5 percent of the
overall budget, was agreed at Bt380 billion, an 8.1-percent increase
The next fiscal year’s revenue is aimed at Bt1.98
trillion, a rise of 11.9 percent from that of Fiscal Year 2011 at Bt1.77
The total budget approved was based on economic
conditions in 2012 forecast to expand at 4.5-5.5 percent and have inflation
rates at 3-4 percent.
In this regard, Deputy Finance Minister Boonsong
Teriyapirom said among other issues the Cabinet approved on Tuesday were an
extended period for a diesel tax cut and the Pheu Thai Party’s first-car
The fuel tax cut, which is to last until Dec 31, will
affect Excise Department revenues of Bt25 billion, but the government is
trying to maintain the tax rate at Bt0.0050 from the current rate of Bt5.31,
The first-car project, also approved by the Cabinet, is
to begin Friday and continue until Dec 31 next year in order to help
middle-income earners otherwise unable to afford their first cars. Around
500,000 vehicles are projected to be sold according to the program.
Conditions include that the car must have no more than a
1500cc engine or priced no more than Bt1 million if it is a pick-up truck
with more than a 1500cc engine, while buyers must be at least 21 years old
and possess the vehicle for their own use for the period of five years. Car
owners can redeem compensation from the government equal to their vehicles’
excise tax of not more than Bt100,000 after one year of possessing the
Meanwhile, deputy government spokeswoman Anuttama
Amornwiwat said the Cabinet also approved the National Rice Policy
Committee’s proposal on the 2011/2012 rice mortgage scheme for in-season
unmilled rice, which is to start Oct 7 and continue until Feb 29.
The criterion for mortgaged rice is that the level of
humidity per ton of unmilled rice must be under 15 percent. The mortgage
price for Hom Mali fragrant rice (Thai jasmine rice) is set at Bt20,000,
Thai Pathumthani fragrant rice at Bt16,000, while other types of fragrant
rice are at Bt18,000, and 100 percent unhusked rice at Bt15,000.
The Commerce Ministry will find additional sources of
funds for this Bt400 billion program. (MCOT)
Thailand-India FTA tax privilege benefits 900 Thai items
The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Thailand and India
will provide tax privilege benefits to at least another 900 Thai items for
goods categorized under ‘Product Specific Rules’ (PRS) and merchandise
needing Rules of Origin requirements, according to Thailand’s Trade
Negotiations Department director-general.
Thai representatives, led by Director-General Srirat
Rastapana, recently went to India for to meet their Indian counterparts at
the 21st Thailand-India Trade Negotiating Committee in the capital, New
Delhi, to negotiate free trade, services, investment, and other economic
cooperation between the two nations.
Other benefits from the negotiation included creative
economy, construction, tourism, and the development of small- and
medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Beginning in 2004, the Thailand-India Free Trade
Agreement covered trade in goods by 2010. To speed up tariff reductions,
both countries agreed to implement an Early Harvest Program (EHS) for 82
items of merchandise which had tariffs reduced to 0 percent - entirely
removed - since Sept 2006.
Bilateral negotiations later stopped, as India needed to
priorities its free trade with the Association of South East Asian Nations
Thailand and India resumed negotiations in Dec 2010 and
agreed the bilateral FTA with improved benefits to the ASEAN-India FTA,
complying with Thailand’s goal to become India’s partner at a strategic
level; for instance, increasing the number of goods penetrating the market
and the period of tax reduction and/or cancellation faster to that of the
India is Thailand’s number one trading partner in South
Asia and is the door for Thailand to other markets in the region such as
Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. In the world market, India is
Thailand’s 17th ranked trading partner and number 11 as an export market.
Bilateral trade between the countries in the first half
of 2010 was valued at US$4.1 billion, a 29 percent increase year-on-year. Of
the total, Thailand’s exports to India were worth $2.6 billion, while its
imports from India were $1.5 billion. (MCOT)