Cabinet approves baht measures, 3G plan

The cabinet meeting on Tuesday approved eight measures to help exporters who were hit by the appreciating baht, Commerce Minister Porntiva Nakasai said.
The measures for relevant agencies are as follows:
1. Prevent the baht from fluctuating, ensure that the baht’s value is close to other regional currencies and extend the period of time for holding the US dollar.
2. Control the short-term circulation of foreign currencies.
3. Allow payment of shipments in foreign currencies.
4. Slow down the increase in the policy interest rate.
5. Reduce customs fees for exporters.
6. Help small businesses get better access to financial resources and provide export risk insurance.
7. Set up a fund to help small businesses.
8. Ensure that state agencies provide clear and transparent reports.
Mrs Porntiva said traders and officials from the Commerce, Finance and Transport ministries will meet to discuss the baht situation soon.

The country’s export revenue would fall 0.4 per cent if the baht strengthened by one per cent, she said.
Bank of Thailand governor Tarisa Watanagase said the surge in foreign capital inflow was due to the confidence of investors in the country’s economy, not the high interest rate.
“The high interest rate may attract more foreign capital, the main cause is the strength of the country’s economy.
“Even if the interest rate is low, foreign capital would still enter the country,” Mrs Tarisa said.
She said the inflation rate remained low this year but the central bank will try to keep the core inflation at between 0.5 and three per cent next year.
Information and Communications Technology Minister Juti Krairiksh said the cabinet approved TOT’s 3G business plan.
Mr Juti said the investment budget was reduced from 29 billion baht to 19 billion baht. The ministry wanted the state enterprise to lower the budget because of the sharp fall in the price of 3G equipment.
There will be changes in the TOT’s organisation structure as a subsidiary has to be set up to help run the business. The infrastructure must be shared to reduce overlapping investment costs, the minister said.
He said the number of base stations will increase from 4,700 to 5,400 and they will cover key areas in Bangkok and about 15 provinces.
“If the plan can be implemented quickly, the result should be seen in six months,” he said.

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