Cabinet okays Andaman plan

Cabinet okays Andaman plan

Scheme covers six provinces in South

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and other cabinet members pose for photos at Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Koh Phi Phi National Park on Monday. (Government House photo)
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and other cabinet members pose for photos at Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Koh Phi Phi National Park on Monday. (Government House photo)

The cabinet on Tuesday approved in principle an economic and social development plan for six southern provinces along the Andaman Sea.

The development plan covers 32 projects worth 9 billion baht in six southern provinces comprising Krabi, Phuket, Phangnga, Trang, Ranong and Satun.

Government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said the development plan will focus largely on rehabilitating businesses, especially those in tourism, in the six southern provinces which have been hit hard by the Covid-19 outbreaks.

An Andaman economic tourism network will be established to build up the linkage among tourism, trade and services in the southern provinces, while the "Andaman Go Green" scheme is initiated to promote the bio-, circular and green (BCG) economy in those provinces.

According to Mr Thanakorn, the plan also aims to upgrade medical tourism in Andaman provinces, promote the marina industry and develop palm and rubber industries and infrastructure.

In a related development, the cabinet also approved seven urgent projects worth 494 million baht from the central budget for fiscal 2022 to upgrade tourism spots.

Yesterday, according to Mr Thanakorn, the cabinet also gave the nod to the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) to bid for three mega international events including the Specialised Expo -- a well-known global event for the wellness industry -- at Vachira Phuket Hospital in 2028.

Udon Thani and Nakhon Ratchasima will host the International Horticultural Exposition in 2026 and 2029, respectively.

If Thailand wins the bids to host three megaprojects, the Tourism and Sports Ministry projected that the three projects can generate 100 billion baht income to the country, and create 230,442 jobs, he said.

In a separate development, the cabinet yesterday approved the state Oil Fund borrowing 30 billion baht to subsidise retail diesel prices. The first batch of borrowing worth 20 billion baht will be secured in January next year and the second batch worth 10 billion baht will be secured later once oil prices rise further.

The borrowing will be used to subsidise retail diesel oil prices now capped at not more than 30 baht per litre.

Deputy Prime Minister and Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow said the government expects the first batch of 20 billion baht to be able to help cap the diesel oil prices for only four months.

The government will consider later once the first batch of the borrowing is depleted, he said.

On Oct 4, the Energy Policy Administration Committee approved a cap on diesel prices of 30 baht per litre starting from Oct 11 until the end of the month to help reduce living costs for consumers.

The Oil Fund now stands at seven billion baht.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said yesterday the government expects the world oil prices will drop sometime soon while calling on all parties to help save energy.

The government also pledged to promote clean energy generation, he said.

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