Joint panel to tackle rehabilitation

Joint panel to tackle rehabilitation

JPPCC's first meeting expected to take place next month

Cars on display at a motor show. The private sector is urging the state to speed up measures to aid car makers. (Bangkok Post photo)
Cars on display at a motor show. The private sector is urging the state to speed up measures to aid car makers. (Bangkok Post photo)

The government and the private sector have agreed to revive the Joint Public-Private Consultative Committee (JPPCC) as a core forum for the two to work together on solutions for the country's social and economic rehabilitation after the pandemic.

The JPPCC's first meeting is likely to occur some time next month, said Supant Mongkolsuthree, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).

The FTI was the first organisation to meet Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha after he announced on Wednesday that he was allowing all parts of society to participate in seeking solutions for the country's ills.

Mr Supant also submitted the FTI's economic rehabilitation plan to Gen Prayut, urging the government to speed up help for the car industry, issuance of soft loans and technological help for farmers and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

"Urgent issues we mentioned include a car trade-in scheme for vehicles at least 20 years old and promotions for electric vehicles to stimulate domestic car sales," he said. "The automotive sector also proposed the government implement the Euro 5 emission standards for domestic car manufacturing to reduce emissions and PM2.5 dust."

The FTI's automotive club earlier proposed three assistance measures, including a 50% excise tax reduction until the end of this year, a car trade-in scheme in return for 100,000 baht paid by the state, and a delay in enforcement of Euro 5 emission standards after the coronavirus pandemic took a toll on demand and purchasing power.

But the Excise Department late last month turned down the car makers' proposed 50% tax cut, fearing that the prices of all vehicles in the market would decline further if the reduction were enacted.

Lowering taxes to boost domestic car sales is inappropriate because there could be a knock-on effect on all cars, said Patchara Anuntasilpa, director-general of the Excise Department.

The excise tax on cars contributes about 100 billion baht a year to the department. Assembled cars are not subject to excise tax until they leave assembly plants or tax-free zones.

Based on the FTI's latest report, Thailand's car production plunged 40.2% year-on-year in the first five months this year to 534,428 units.

Car exports fell 35% year-on-year for the same period to 300,501 units in the period, with domestic car sales dropping 38.2% for the period to 270,591 units.

Mr Supant said the FTI called on the government to speed up rehabilitating the farm sector, pledging that FTI members would help farmers to restructure their production to cut costs and support farmers in upgrading technology, specifically for rice, rubber, tapioca and sugar cane.

The FTI proposed that the government provide incentives for public and state agencies to use more locally made products. It also asked the government to order the Comptroller-General's Department to set key performance indicators requiring state agencies to list Thai-made products on their procurement lists.

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