Agency to continue cost of living battle
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Agency to continue cost of living battle

The Commerce Ministry vows to move ahead with plans to help reduce the cost of living for people this year despite inflationary pressure easing, as reflected by lower domestic prices of most products and services.

According to Internal Trade Department director-general Wattanasak Sur-iam, the department is setting guidelines to manage product prices next year, focusing on continued requests to manufacturers to help maintain their product prices in order to alleviate the financial burden on consumers as the country's economy recovers.

Mr Wattanasak said most entrepreneurs are doing well at managing production costs, as these costs for many items have already passed the peak period.

"The department believes if product prices are maintained next year, it will help stimulate people's spending while raising the income of entrepreneurs," he said.

According to Mr Wattanasak, the department remains committed to continuing to organise discount schemes, selling low-priced products to consumers at key festivals when appropriate.

In its latest campaign, the Commerce Ministry kicked off a "New Year Grand Sale" campaign on Dec 22 via partnerships with the private sector and online platforms, offering steep discounts of up to 85%.

The campaign began on Dec 22 and is scheduled to run until Jan 31, with as many as 46,100 store branches from 315 organisations including retailers, manufacturers, online platforms, and service providers participating in the scheme. The scheme is expected to help stimulate domestic spending by at least 12 billion baht.

Products available at the campaign span 14 categories of consumer goods and 31,741 total items, eight service categories with 657 offerings, and three categories of online trade.

The goods include food and drink, consumer products for daily use, electrical appliances, agricultural utensils, garments, construction materials, sportswear, bedding, cosmetics, stationery, furniture and decorative items.

Other categories comprise rubber tyres, auto repair services, insurance, medical services, restaurants, hotels and resorts.

According to Mr Wattanasak, the ministry also plans to continue holding Thong Fah (Blue Flag) low-priced schemes and mobile grocery stores to distribute essential products and food to communities in 2023.

The ministry vows to continue promoting Thong Fah food outlets in 2023, which sell food at affordable prices, and Thong Fah retail outlets.

There are 5,207 Thong Fah food outlets and 130,850 Thong Fah retail stores nationwide.

He said the ministry wants to continue to enforce labelling laws this year to ensure fairness to consumers. This means keeping a close eye on 242 items, 219 of which are products, along with 23 services. This basket of goods and services is categorised as requiring monitoring of pricing to prevent any negative impact to consumers.

The ministry requested manufacturers cap the prices of these items: instant noodles, fresh and raw cooking materials such as meat and eggs, canned food, packaged rice, seasoning sauces, vegetable oils, soft drinks, dairy products, electric appliances, detergents, fertilisers, insecticides, pet food, steel, cement, paper, pills and medical supplies.

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