Chamber pledges economic revival

Chamber pledges economic revival

Faster Covid vaccine distribution at core

Sanan: Quicker vaccination key
Sanan: Quicker vaccination key

The Thai Chamber of Commerce vows to help revitalise the economy in 99 days under its "Connect the Dots" policy, with faster Covid-19 vaccine distribution at the core.

By connecting the dots, the chamber means it will work as a focal point to connect the state and private sector and individuals to jointly drive economic rehabilitation in the 99-day period, said newly appointed chairman Sanan Angubolkul.

Speeding up Covid-19 vaccination is the core policy as fast vaccination will restore business confidence and supports the state plan to reopen the country from July.

"Thailand is slow in distributing vaccines. This will result in a slow economic recovery," said Mr Sanan.

The chamber wants vaccines to be given to at least 50% of the population as soon as possible. This, when combined with the stimulus measures, will help GDP land in positive territory in the second quarter, with 3-3.5% growth this year, he said.

The private sector wants to help the government handle jobs regarding vaccination, including transporting the vaccines and providing cold storage facilities and vaccination venues.

The chamber is proposing the "Buy 1, Give 1" vaccine campaign to help the government speed up the vaccination. Under the campaign, every dose of a vaccine a company buys for its employees, the company will give a free dose to individuals. Many companies have expressed interest in buying vaccines for some 900,000 employees.

Mr Sanan said he plans to meet the prime minister to discuss the chamber's ideas.

Other plans under the Connect the Dots campaign include a collaboration with a giant retail operator to help its tenants, notably small and medium-sized enterprises, gain better access to financial sources to bolster their liquidity, said Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, vice-chairman of the chamber.

Yol Phokasub, director of the chamber board, said the group plans to promote inbound tourism via the "Hug Thais" project to encourage Thais to use local products and travel within the country.

In another development, Ghanyapad Tantipipatpong, chairwoman of the Thai National Shippers' Council, expects the delivery of Thai goods to Europe may face only a short delay if traffic of more than 300 ships blocked by the Ever Given container ship at the Suez Canal is cleared quickly. The 200,000-tonne Ever Given ran aground in the canal, but was freed from the shoreline on Monday.

Thai products, notably food and auto parts, are packed in 600 containers on Ever Given, which was travelling to Europe when the accident occurred.

"Goods transport should return to normal if the traffic can be cleared in 1-2 days," said Ms Ghanyapad.

Exporters should carefully plan for shipping in April if the traffic remains slow.

If they round the Cape of Good Hope in Africa, it takes another 14 days and is costlier, she said.

Thanavath Phonvichai, president of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, believes the traffic should be sorted in 30-45 days.

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