JSCCIB: Jobless total to worsen without strong measures

JSCCIB: Jobless total to worsen without strong measures

Job seekers look at vacant positions at the Labour Ministry on Jan 2, 2020. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)
Job seekers look at vacant positions at the Labour Ministry on Jan 2, 2020. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)

The Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB) is warning unemployment reached 2.5 million people in the first half this year and will keep growing next year if state stimulus packages are not strong enough to battle economic woes.

The numbers, recorded between January to June this year, include 700,000 workers under labour laws as well as informal labourers and employees suspended from their jobs.

"The unemployment rate is expected to increase if the government's economic stimulus measures are not strong and many rehabilitation projects are delayed," Supant Mongkolsuthree, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries, said after a JSCCIB meeting on Wednesday.

Many businesses, particularly in the tourism and export sectors, remain weak, though some have slowly recovered.

"We may see the unemployment rate increase in 2021," he said.

This situation will certainly increase the number of non-performing loans (NPLs) because people do not have money to repay what they owe, said Mr Supant without elaborating on NPL figures.

He is also concerned about a second wave of infections in the country as infection rates spike in many Asian countries, including Myanmar, which borders Thailand.

A new outbreak will deal a blow to ongoing efforts to revitalise businesses.

"The government must step up with measures to prevent the spread of the virus," said Mr Supant.

If authorities want to go ahead with plans to allow tourists from low-risk countries to visit Thailand, they should carefully check their health and issue specific visas for those eligible to enter the country.

Kalin Sarasin, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said JSCCIB will also ask the government to abandon some unnecessary laws and regulations in order to facilitate business operations.

Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) says up to 191 bills were enacted between 2011 and 2015, bringing the total tally to 900. During the same period, 661 ministerial regulations were announced in the Royal Gazette, increasing their total to nearly 18,000.

More than 620 royal decrees were also issued over the past five years, along with 1,015 announcements.

TDRI estimates many of more than 100,000 laws on the books may pose obstacles to business activities.

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