The prices of more than 150,000 products and services will be cut by as much as 87%, effective immediately, until the end of December.
Speaking after a joint meeting with manufacturers, distributors, modern trade malls, local markets and service providers, Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai said that as a part of the government's Quick Win policy to reduce expenses, increase income and expand business opportunities, 288 business operators yesterday agreed to reduce the prices of their goods and services covering 151,676 items across the country for three months until Dec 31.
Participating business operators comprise 88 manufacturers of essential consumer goods; 83 distributors, modern trade malls, local shopping malls and home decoration and equipment stores; 110 service providers such as hospitals and car service centres; 110 logistics companies; and seven online platforms.
These products are categorised into three groups: food and beverages, including processed food, rice, seasonings and beverages (3,058 items with a maximum discount of 87%); essentials such as daily necessities, electrical appliances, home decoration, tools, medicines and medical supplies (8,290 items with a maximum discount of 80%); and agricultural inputs, including fertilisers, agricultural chemicals and animal feed (198 items with a maximum discount of 40%).
The service categories are divided into three groups: medical services (140,000 items with a maximum discount of 20%); car maintenance and repair services (123 items with a maximum discount of 50%); and logistics and courier services (seven items with a maximum discount of 69%).
"The price cut will help reduce the cost of living by 2-3 billion baht and stimulate spending, driving the economy in the crucial late-year period. It will benefit all sectors, including consumers, farmers and businesses, whether large or small. Whether this price reduction will impact the inflation rate in the fourth quarter remains to be seen," said Mr Phumtham.
The commerce minister said his ministry has not only asked manufacturers and businesses to help reduce prices, but the ministry has also pledged to help find ways to reduce costs and address existing obstacles such as regulations to the private sector.
Pun Paniangvait, manager of the president's office of Thai President Foods Plc, producer of Mama instant noodles, said price reductions can be achieved because many parties have cooperated.
For instance, he noted that to produce a packet of instant noodles for 7 baht includes costs such as flour, palm oil, electricity, transportation and labour. If the cost of any of these elements decreases, it could lead to lower product prices. However, it is not solely the responsibility of manufacturers to reduce prices, he said.
"Purchasing power declined during the period when the government had not yet been established. However, various policies have been issued by the new government, resulting in an increase in people's confidence, which is expected to boost consumer spending in the final quarter," he said.