Private use of military items to expand

Private use of military items to expand

The Defence Council has approved a bill to control the use of military products by private businesses seeking to import, manufacture, and/or possess such products.

Defence spokesman Kongcheep Tantravanich said the council, chaired by Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, has given a green light to the draft law following an increase in commercial use of military products.

The bill regulates the import, production and possession of military products and deals with the issuance of licence and its associated fees. The bill covers weapons, weapon parts, chemicals, and equipment or tools that have military applications.

Lt Gen Kongcheep said the highlight of the bill is a proposed extension of licences to three years, up from one year at present. He added the fees will be revised to reflect the extension.

He insisted that by extending licences from one year to three years, all concerned parties will benefit.

While authorities are working to better regulate the products in a comprehensive manner, the private sector can also devise better business plans and reduce their costs, he said.

The Defence Council has also ordered the armed forces to support World Soil Day, which falls on Dec 5, the birthday of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, according to Lt Gen Kongcheep.

Dec 5 was declared by the United Nations as World Soil Day in 2013, to honour the late monarch's contribution to soil conservation.

In 2012, the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) gave its first Humanitarian Soil Scientist award to King Bhumibol.

The spokesman said the government will host nationwide events from Dec 5-7 to honour the late king and expects all state agencies to promote the event.

Lt Gen Kongcheep said Gen Prawit has instructed military units which report directly to the Defence Ministry to step up security along the borders to curb smuggling of farm products.

The measure is part of an attempt to help maintain the prices of agricultural products, which will be driven down if excessive supplies are smuggled into the country.

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