Ministry seeks B1.4bn to ease cost of living burden

Ministry seeks B1.4bn to ease cost of living burden

Mr Jurin visits a Lotus's hypermarket to monitor food prices.
Mr Jurin visits a Lotus's hypermarket to monitor food prices.

The Commerce Ministry is asking for 1.4 billion baht to implement measures to reduce the cost of living for Thais amid spikes in the prices of goods and food.

Speaking after visiting Lotus's Rattanathibet branch on Friday to monitor prices, Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said the ministry is scheduled to propose at the cabinet meeting on Tuesday an allocation of 1.4 billion baht from the central budget to fund measures and programmes to reduce the cost of living for people for a period of three months.

"I've already consulted the prime minister about the proposal. He agreed, but asked for more details about the measures," said Mr Jurin.

He said the ministry plans to organise discount campaigns at 3,050 distribution points and add more Thong Fah (Blue Flag) low-priced schemes to distribute essential products and food to communities nationwide.

Mr Jurin said discounted products, including chicken, pork, eggs and other essential products, will be available at community courtyards, fresh markets, department stores, gas stations, convenience stores and mobile groceries.

Last year the ministry organised 16 discount campaigns, both online and offline, to reduce the cost of living.

The ministry also facilitated product distribution directly to consumers through its mobile commercial vehicle scheme, offering discount prices, he said.

The ministry is also set to take legal action against price gougers, said Mr Jurin.

"Provincial governors nationwide will be tasked as the main mechanism to prevent any profiteering by traders," he said.

"The governors will lead inspection teams to survey retail prices of products and services suspected of price gouging, ordering vendors to display price tags that match their sales prices."

Wattanasak Sur-iam, director-general of the Internal Trade Department, said earlier the ministry through the Central Committee on the Prices of Goods and Services is set to apply measures to control product prices for a period if they are found to have been unreasonably inflated.

The ministry also plans to seek cooperation from manufacturers and traders to help cap the prices of their products or delay any moves to raise product prices as a means to alleviate hardships among consumers, said Mr Wattanasak.

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