Sunday, October 16, 2011

Kittirat to chair meeting today on relief measures for industry

The Nation October 17, 2011 8:07 am
Kittirat to chair meeting today on relief measures for industry

Soft loans plan for affected manufacturers, plus skills training

The Industry Ministry will ask the government to approve measures to lessen the impact of the flooding on the estimated 186,000 workers affected, including skills training and soft loans to about 650 flood-hit manufacturers.

Meanwhile, ministry officials insisted no decision has yet been made on whether to postpone the BoI Fair, which is scheduled for November 10-25. The Board of Investment (BoI) will hold a meeting to discuss the issue today(October 17).

Industry Minister Wannarat Charnnukul said the flood-relief measures would be proposed to the economic relief committee chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Kittirat Na-Ranong today. The proposals include six-year soft loans to affected manufacturers. The amount of the loans is under consideration, while the interest rate awaits consideration by the committee. The loans will be separate from those offered by the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Bank of Thailand.

Another proposed measure was skills training, to be conducted while affected manufacturing plants are repaired, Wannarat said.

Yesterday, water flooded into Factory Land, an industrial estate housing nearly 100 manufacturing plants in Ayutthaya province's Wang Noi district. The plants there have a combined investment value of Bt11 billion, with roughly 6,000 workers. The water level is 1.5-2 metres high.
So far, five industrial parks have been submerged, affecting 645 plants and 186,000 workers.
Witoon Simachokedee, permanent secretary at the Industry Ministry, said the BoI would also hold a meeting today (October 17) to discuss whether or not to postpone the BoI Fair. After the BoI concludes this matter, it will inform the Industry Ministry before notifying Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who chairs the BoI's approval committee.

"It may prove impossible to organise the BoI Fair at this time due to the severe floods. However, the BoI has yet to make a decision on this matter. It must ask Impact Exhibition Management, the operator of Muang Thong Thani [convention centre], where the fair is to be held. And finally, it has to seek approval from the prime minister," Witoon said.

While some potential exhibitors at the fair are keen for it to proceed, others whose operations have been affected are not.
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