Cabinet approves B6.34bn for nationwide upgrades

Cabinet approves B6.34bn for nationwide upgrades

The cabinet on Tuesday approved a combined 6.34 billion baht for projects to facilitate the ease of doing business and upgrade the country's competitiveness.

Nathporn Chatusripitak, a spokesman for Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, said of the total, 3.29 billion baht will be set aside for the Science and Technology Ministry, 2.25 billion for the Digital Economy and Society Ministry and 800 million for the Office of the Public Sector Development Commission (OPDC).

Most of the spending stems from the leftover budget for fiscal 2017.

Mr Nathporn said the 3.29 billion baht allocated to the Science and Technology Ministry will finance 10 projects that strengthen Thai competitiveness, including the biobank establishment, innovation for Thai herbs, R&D for medical equipment, the upgrade of the One Tambon One Product programme in 10 low-income provinces and a scheme to support science and technology education.

For the Digital Economy and Society Ministry, 598 million baht will go toward expanding broadband internet to 3,169 schools in remote areas; 788 million is earmarked for developing smart cities in the government's flagship Eastern Economic Corridor project; 414 million will go to developing ecosystems for digital start-ups; 236 million is for deveoping an online platform to support Stem (science, technology, engineering and maths) education; and 217 million has been set aside to establish an Internet of Things institute.

Mr Nathporn said the 800 million baht budget slated for the OPDC will come from the World Bank's Structural Adjustment Loans programme. Three OPDC projects to upgrade efficiency of state agencies and facilitate the ease of doing business will be financed.

Some 250 million baht will be invested in a citizen feedback project, whereby the OPDC will develop a central platform to evaluate public satisfaction, with 400 million to be spent on a tracking system and 150 million to develop a central online queue system.

The three projects will be implemented over 2018-2020.

In a related development, Mr Nathporn said the cabinet yesterday approved ministerial regulations to govern e-commerce entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs who have sales volume via e-commerce of less than 1.8 million baht a year will be exempted from registering as direct sales operators that are supervised by the Office of Consumer Protection Board (OCPB), as required by the Direct Sales and Direct Marketing Act 2017.

He said the cabinet also approved ministerial regulations to require entrepreneurs who apply for the permits to operate direct sales and direct marketing and place deposits with the OCPB.

Operators of direct sales that have annual sales of not more than 25 million baht are required to place 25,000 worth of deposits with the board. Those with sales of 25-50 million baht have to put down 50,000.

Operators with 50-100 million baht in sales have to put forward 100,000, and a 200,000 deposit is required for those with annual sales exceeding 100 million.

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