Uttama eyes tax rejig, not outright cut
Finance minister promises to eliminate discrepancies
The Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) never promised an outright reduction of income taxes during the election as it merely meant to revise tax structures plagued with discrepancies, said Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana and the PPRP leader.
He explained the revision affects juristic persons' income tax which goes up to 25% and the personal income tax now pegged at a ceiling of 35%.
"The tax structures should be streamlined to narrow the gap and parties connected to the matter should sit down together and work it out.
"However, any revision must take into consideration the fiscal discipline and effectiveness," the finance minister said.
Meanwhile, the Energy Ministry plans to boost the welfare scheme to cover power and fuel, including a special discount for low-income earners who hold the state welfare smart card.
Energy Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong said yesterday the ministry aims to ease the cost of living for them.
"The discount details and measures will be established tomorrow,'' he said.
The price of compressed natural gas (CNG) for taxis, vans and buses is also being revised, as the current pricing scheme is designed to keep the price in line with market value.
PTT Plc, the national oil and gas conglomerate, has ordered a subsidy for CNG prices under the state welfare scheme.
Currently, if cardholders consume less than an average of 50 kilowatts per hour per month at their homes, the government will waive their bill.
"This measure will be extended up to 60 units per month,'' said Mr Sontirat.
Cardholders will also be given 45 baht every three months to help them pay for cooking gas.
Mr Sontirat added the government wants to support lower-income people and carry out the state welfare smart card scheme as the previous administration did.
"The ministry will discuss an additional special discount for small companies and startups struggling with high operational costs," he said.
Mr Sontirat added that the ministry is planning to make a pathway to develop biofuel to drive Thailand's economy, because biofuel will help to make Thailand's economy more competitive.
The ministry also plans to keep and increase the levels of methyl ester, derived from crude palm oil, in biodiesel in order to absorb surplus palm oil production.
"The ministry will mandate biodiesel B10 as the fundamental diesel at petrol stations and expand the availability of B20 for buses and trucks, as these biofuels can strengthen Thailand's economy," said Mr Sontirat, adding the discounts of three baht for B10 fuel and five baht for B20 fuel, will be extended until July 31.
A source from the ministry said the latest decision is likely to maintain the capped price of CNG for public transport, as well as the fee waiver for residents who consume 60 units or less per month of electricity.
Global oil prices are likely stable due to the US-China trade war, which has decreased the demand for oil.
Once oil prices increase again, additional oil and gas production from North America's shale oil and gas reserves will enter the market.