Nattawut pledges SME wage aid

The government is ready to help small- and medium-sized enterprise (SMEs) affected by the increase in the daily minimum wage to 300 baht, Deputy Commerce Minister Nattawut Saikuar said on Saturday.

  • Published: 2/02/2013 at 11:24 AM
  • Newspaper section: breakingnews

Speaking on the weekly "Yingluck Government Meets the People" programme on NBT, Mr Nattawut said SMEs would be eligible for low-interest loans and the government would help them seek new export markets.

The minister insisted that since the beginning of the year, no SMEs have been closed specifically because of the impact of the wage increase. He said most of the manufacturers that closed in December did so because of operating losses caused by other factors.

However, the government will survey SMEs to assess the impact of higher labour costs in light of the increases that took effect on Jan 1. The information will be used to identify sectors and businesses that need assistance, said Mr Nattawut.

On the same talk show, Prime Minister's Office Minister Niwatthamrong Bunsongphaisan said affected manufacturers could make requests via the special 1111 hotline (press 22), at Government House, or at provincial city halls across the country.

Industry Minister Prasert Boonchaisuk said the wage increase would push up production costs by 5.75% for small manufacturers, 5.63% for medium-sized ones and 4.83% for large factories.

Production costs have risen by 5.38% on average which is not too high, he added.

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