40m to benefit from fuel price plan: govt

40m to benefit from fuel price plan: govt

At least 40 million people are expected to benefit from the government's 10-point plan to ease the impact of fuel price increases arising from the Ukraine-Russia crisis, said government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana.

He said the measures, which will require a budget of at least 50 billion baht, can help alleviate economic hardship, particularly for low-income families.

The measures comprise a fuel tariff (Ft) cut on power bills for some 20 million households using less than 300 units; social security contribution reductions for 11.2 million members; relief for 9 million farmers suffering from high fertiliser prices; an increase in the state cooking gas subsidy for 3.6 million state welfare cardholders; and a cut in social security contributions for 1.9 million members insured under Section 39.

The other measures are a gasohol relief payment for some 157,000 motorcycle taxis; a relief stipend on cooking gas for vendors and hawkers with state welfare cards; a natural gas price guarantee for taxi drivers under the "Breathe Together" project; a diesel price freeze at 30 baht per litre; and a freeze on the NGV price.

The measures will be explained today at Government House by Deputy Prime Minister and Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow, Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith and Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin. Mr Thanakorn said the government was confident that growth will not dip below 3% this year and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has told agencies to map out plans to ease household debt and the cost of living.

Mr Suchart said yesterday around 20 million informal workers will benefit from the measures. They include motorcycle taxis, cab drivers and street food vendors.

He said the gasohol relief payment of 250 baht per month for 157,000 working motorcycle drivers is intended to regulate prices so passengers will not be charged more. "Each motorcycle taxi serves about 20 people per day, so we can regulate prices for some 3.1 million people," he said. Santi Pantipanrat, secretary of the motorcycle taxi association, welcomed the relief measures.

Anuwat Yawut, a taxi driver, yesterday praised the relief measures and thanked the labour minister for looking after informal workers. There are about 80,000 taxi drivers, he said.

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