PM says help on way for private firms

Efforts are under way to help the private sector cope with the government's 300-baht wage hike policy, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra says.

The National Economic and Social Development Board, the Finance Ministry and the Commerce Ministry have been told to get in on the act, Ms Yingluck said yesterday.

The agencies are expected to hold a meeting with the private sector to discuss possible measures to be taken to cushion the impacts, she said. Some employers have complained the policy risks undermining their competitiveness.

"We are closely monitoring the situation and considering steps to reduce risks. But there is no reason to get overly worried. We can work it out," the prime minister said.

On Wednesday Ms Yingluck met top government officials to discuss the strengthening baht and gave assurances there was nothing to worry about.

Ms Yingluck also yesterday called on critics not to see the government's populist schemes as cash hand-outs.

She said the projects, which have been slammed for raising household debt, were designed to spur spending power and strengthen the economy as a whole.

Meanwhile, the latest survey by the Economic and Business Forecast Centre of the Thai Chamber of Commerce University indicated that many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) would go under this year following the 300-baht wage increase policy unless they receive help from the government.

The study, conducted among 600 SMEs during Jan 15-17, showed they were likely to survive no longer than seven months if the government did not help them cope with rising costs.

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