Truckers protests : Govt agrees to provide diesel subsidy and loans

Truck operators called off their planned protest to bring convoys of trucks to Bangkok after the Transport Ministry gave in to their demand for subsidised diesel prices and low-interest loans to be made available to convert their engines to compressed natural gas. Transport Ministry representatives yesterday met truck operators to discuss an assistance package.

Deputy Transport permanent secretary Piyaphan Champasut, who chaired the meeting, said the ministry would seek cabinet approval to allocate cheap diesel and provide low-interest loans to hauliers as well as reduce taxes on new trucks powered by compressed natural gas (NGV).

The ministry wanted the Land Transport Federation of Thailand (LTFT), which represents the truck operators, to submit details of the amount of diesel its members wanted to use and the allocation of fuel among its members.

However, Mr Piyaphan said not all truck operators would receive a subsidy of three baht per litre of diesel as earlier demanded by the federation. The Energy Ministry could allocate only 122 million litres of subsidised priced diesel per month for a period of six months.

The government has so far knocked three baht a litre off the price of diesel for fishery, farm and bus operators. This leaves only 40-50 million litres of cheap diesel per month for truckers.

The ministry would urgently forward to the Finance Ministry the operators’ demands for cheap loans and the establishment of a 20-billion-baht fund to support the conversion of their truck engines to compressed natural gas and a tax reduction on new trucks with NGV engines. (Bangkok Post)

Well, it wasn’t too long… The government, in a very weak political position, had no other choice. After giving up to fishermen and bus companies (very quickly)… it was impossible to say no to the very powerfull truckers sector.

They are just too vital for the country’s economy.

And their power of coercition is too strong. Can you imagine a rallye… of trucks ? All the thai cities could be blocked.

However, the “deal” could end badly. When the truckers will understand that 40 to 50 millions litres per month… is not enough. Not all of them would be able to enjoy the subsidy… Tricky situation.

So to summarize : the government might have won a few months… and the truckers some relief. But after ?

Back to square one : the inflation tsunami.

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Thailand Crisis

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But this time, it's different.

The key to understand the present turmoil is the inevitable... succession of King Bhumibol.


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