LTFT wants swift end to decree
The Land Transport Federation of Thailand (LTFT) is opposing the government's decision to extend the emergency decree to the end of June, estimating that the order will cost the economy a further 300-400 billion baht during the one-month extension.
Thongyoo Kongkhan, adviser to the chairman of the LTFT, said the emergency decree is unnecessary for the nation to control the coronavirus outbreak because people have already adjusted their daily lives to the pandemic with comprehensive measures.
He said the government should instead focus on stricter measures for those who travel overseas.
"The government should cancel the emergency decree because it builds a negative atmosphere for business and investment," Mr Thongyoo said.
The federation is concerned that foreign firms will delay investment in Thailand because of the curfew and other measures that impede business operations.
In the worst-case scenario, a foreign company could move production to Vietnam or other Asean nations that are no longer in a state of emergency.
"Many countries that have been more severely affected by the virus than Thailand haven't used emergency decrees and have let businesses run as usual," Mr Thongyoo said.
The LTFT is calling on the government to launch a long-term economic stimulus plan in the wake of the three-month handout scheme.
"The business sector wants to see government measures to boost the domestic economy, increase purchasing power and rebuild consumer confidence," Mr Thongyoo said.
He said the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration should consider the balance between the economy and health security, especially since there have been few new cases of the virus in recent weeks.
"If the economy continues to slow, it will be difficult to recover and many businesses will lose financial security," Mr Thongyoo said.
The LTFT estimates that Thailand's logistics and supply chain industry is worth 500 billion baht annually, making the sector the fourth-largest contributor to GDP (behind exports, tourism, and agriculture and processing).
Since the viral outbreak, the government has provided no relief measures for truck operators and the logistics sector. Earlier this year, the LTFT reported that 20-25% of truck drivers were out of work.
The group has 1.4 million truck drivers as members.