Govt aims to control oil prices

Govt aims to control oil prices

Braces for impact of Russia-Ukraine war

Retail oil prices in Bangkok on Monday. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
Retail oil prices in Bangkok on Monday. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Monday urged the public to cut back on energy consumption, especially when using private cars, amid soaring oil prices. Gen Prayut said the government would do its best to cushion the impact.

His call came as the price of Brent crude oil went over US$130 (about 4,200 baht) per barrel in the early hours on Monday, surpassing the record of $128 in 2012.

According to ANI/Sputnik, the price of May futures for Brent was trading up 9.35%, to $129.06 per barrel at 12.28am GMT. At 2.06pm the price reached $130.3, it said.

Gen Prayut said the government has been monitoring the situation, and the soaring prices are a pressing issue the government will address as it finds appropriate measures to cushion the impact.

"We're urging everyone to help save energy as much as possible, especially in the use of private cars," he said. "We've already taken steps to address the rising prices, but what should we do if they continue when we have a limited budget?"

Earlier, the government decided to cut the diesel excise tax by 3 baht per litre, off the current 5.99 baht, until May 20 to alleviate the impact of high energy prices.

Relief measures to help cushion the impact are expected to be proposed at a National Energy Policy Committee meeting tomorrow.

Government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said the committee, headed by Gen Prayut, will mete out measures and propose them to the cabinet for approval on March 15.

"The challenges facing Thailand and other countries -- the Covid-19 pandemic, global inflation and the Ukraine-Russia war -- are unprecedented and are driving fuel prices and [impacting] the costs of transport and consumer goods," Mr Thanakorn said.

He insisted the government has been working to address the issue by maintaining the retail price of diesel below 30 baht a litre.

Meanwhile, members of the tourism sector in Phuket are calling on the Finance Ministry and the Bank of Thailand to find solutions after Russian tourists became unable to make financial transactions due to sanctions against major Russian banks.

In his Facebook post, Bhummikitti Raktaengam, president of the Phuket Tourist Association, said the authorities in Thailand should consider adopting alternative payment systems, such as those that utilise cryptocurrencies, to solve the problem being faced by these tourists.

He said Thailand is not a party in the conflict and it should find solutions to enable businesses to continue under this unusual circumstance. Without alternative payment systems, arrivals from Russia are likely to be affected as long as the crisis drags on, he noted.



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