Plan for food, energy in the works

Plan for food, energy in the works

Safeguard measures 'due next Friday'

The government expects to have a plan ready by next Friday to safeguard the country's food and energy security due to threats posed by the economic impact of Covid-19 coupled with the Russia-Ukraine crisis, the National Security Council (NSC) said yesterday.

NSC secretary-general Supoj Malaniyom has been asked by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to take charge of brainstorming efforts to find ways of better mitigating the impact of these crises.

They have been driving up inflation and consumer product and energy prices, which are being handled by the government's economic organisations, he said.

"What Gen Prayut is more concerned about, however, is the long-term impact of these negative factors on Thailand's food and energy security," added Gen Supoj.

Input received from previous meetings with those economic organisations is being compiled and turned into a plan to be implemented in various stages, he noted.

In the short term, the plan will focus on inflation and the risk of encountering an economic slowdown or even a new recession, which will inevitably affect Thailand's energy and food security, he said, adding this is due to be finalised by the end of next week.

Since this area mainly involves two parties -- business operators and consumers -- the government will also seek the cooperation of the private sector, Gen Supoj said.

"Why does this concern the NSC?" he asked. "Because whatever affects national security concerns the NSC."

A sub-committee will be formed to follow up on this work and prepare a proposal to submit to the government regarding what action is required.

Meanwhile, government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana relayed a message from Gen Prayut to the public.

He said the PM insisted there has not been any shrinkage in the number of inter-provincial bus services in operation, and the Ministry of Transport is negotiating with operators to prevent any future disruptions in this area.

In case the negotiations end in a stalemate, and the operators go ahead with their threats to reduce their services due to the high energy prices, Transport Co and the State Railway of Thailand will promptly implement contingency plans to cope with the impact of the scaled-back service, Mr Thanakorn said.

A total of 27 operators that hold a concession to jointly operate inter-provincial bus services on all 143 routes nationwide previously threatened to slash their services by up to 80%, citing a need to adjust to rising oil prices.

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