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Srettha’s vow wins FTI approval

New premier pledges to cut electricity bills

PUBLISHED : 1 Sep 2023 at 06:38

Srettha's vow wins FTI approval

The FTI has repeatedly pushed the government to reduce electricity rates.

The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) says it is pleased with the new government’s pledge to reduce energy bills and retail diesel prices.

New Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin recently promised one focus of his administration’s early efforts would be cutting energy prices.

Mr Srettha said his cabinet would cut energy prices soon after it comes into power.

Energy bills and diesel prices have increased the cost of living and manufacturing costs, with the private sector pushing for measures to ease these factors, said FTI chairman Kriengkrai Thiennukul.

The household electricity tariff was 4.7 baht per kilowatt-hour (unit) from May to August.

A lower rate of 4.45 baht per unit applies for September to December, but the FTI views that rate as still too high.

“The FTI would be happy if the new government works to reduce energy bills and the diesel oil price,” said Mr Kriengkrai.

“The FTI and the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking are always calling for the government to consider reductions.”

He said the FTI expects the new government to have clear measures to deal with high energy prices as soon as possible to reduce the cost of living and manufacturing costs, which affect people and the business sector, especially small and medium-sized enterprises.

Higher energy bills make Thailand’s industries lose competitiveness against regional countries such as Vietnam that have lower costs for exports and manufacturing, Mr Kriengkrai said.

The current diesel price remains at 32 baht per litre.

The Finance Ministry recently reinstated the 5.99-baht excise tax on diesel after ending a tax reduction scheme.

According to the FTI, manufacturers have increased production prices since last year because of higher costs, stemming from expensive energy bills and the retail oil price.

If the new government can reduce both, that would benefit both people and purchasing power, he said.

However, Mr Kriengkrai said the FTI disagrees with proposals to increase the minimum wage to 600 baht a day this year because it is not the right time and some businesses are still suffering from the effect of the pandemic, while the global economy has slowed and interest rates remain high.

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