Here is a pot-pourri, tidbits of news.
As predicted, the government decided to keep VAT rate at 7 % until 2010 (the rate was supposed to be increased to 10 %). (Nation).
Thailand is the kingdom of things that are “perpetually temporary”.
The government refuses the request from private bus operators to increase fares “as oil prices may continue to drop after the Songkran holiday next month. The meeting will discuss private buses’ request for fare raises again after the festival“. (PRD)
Like always : we’ll see tomorrow and total lunacy.
The gvt decides to give… another day off for Songkran in april (16 april included). Why ? Panen et Circenses… Little gift after the elections… Officially it’s a compensation because 12 and 13 april fall on the week end. (PRD)
DRUG OF WAR
Sorry. “War On Drug”. The new season of this famous -albeit tragic- thai show will start officially on april 2. As usual : they set a lunatic “deadline” : 90 days.
It’s a copy-paste of the policy initiated by Thaksin when he was prime minister (the official death toll was 2 500… drug dealers killed each others, according to the police). “Chalerm [Interior Minister] said he was aware of a difficult fight ahead but expected cut down the trafficking.” Yeah sure. (Nation)
Don’t forget to buy the pop-corn. And be ready for the body count.
THE DILDO ECONOMY
This is the part 2 of the “stimulus package” (read here for part 1).
Cabinet ministers yesterday approved grants of 20 billion baht to the SML (small, medium and large) village programme, a scheme first drafted during the Thaksin Shinawatra government, under which villages received grants for community development.
Dr Surapong said funds would be allocated depending on village size [there are 78 358 villages]. Small villages of up to 250 people would receive between 50,000 and 150,000 baht, villages of up to 1,000 people would receive 250,000 baht and larger villages 350,000 baht each.
Benefits ? Close to zero, on the long term. Some villages will surely use the money for real development projects. As for the others… “consumption expenses” are more likely (booze, mobile phones, cars ?)