Economy December 14, 2013 00:00

By The Nation

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Etihad gets new chief for Asia-Pacific, subcontinent

Etihad Airways has appointed Craig Thomas as its new vice president to oversee operations in the Asia-Pacific region and the South Asian subcontinent.
Craig will relocate to Bangkok from his current role as the manager of sales in Australia and will replace Adam Phillips, who is returning to Abu Dhabi to take up the position of vice president for commercial strategy and planning.
Craig will be responsible for sales in Bangladesh, Belarus, China, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
Honda factory in Japan wins environment award
Honda Motor announced yesterday that its factory in Japan’s Saitama prefecture won this year’s Environment Minister’s Award for Global Warming Prevention Activity. The award ceremony was held recently in Tokyo.
Japan’s Environment Ministry has been giving out these awards since 1998 to honour individuals or groups that have made significant contributions towards preventing global warming. 
The award covers five categories, comprising Technological Development and Commercialisation, Countermeasure Technology Introduction and Dissemination, Implementation of Countermeasures, Environmental Education/Dissemination and Enlightenment, and International Contribution.
The proactive environmental initiatives implemented at the Saitama factory’s Yorii plant, which went into operation in July, and the significant outcomes from such initiatives are highly regarded under the “Countermeasure Technology Introduction and Dissemination” award category.
AirAsia adds new route to China
AirAsia has expanded its network in China by introducing the new route Bangkok-Changsha, which will start operating on January 24. The new route is being inaugurated at an all-inclusive special promotional fare of Bt1,990.
Tassapon Bijleveld, CEO of Thai AirAsia, said the airline would continually add routes to China to boost the economies of both countries. Bookings for the Bangkok-Changsha route will be available from the end of this month. Changsha is the capital of Hunan province in south-central China.
Nippon Paint fails to meet its 2013 target
Nippon Paint says its car-paint business for this year is 5-10 per cent below target as customers were delaying the purchase of new cars and were also postponing repairs. 
Thaveechai Tangthanaviroot, general manager of NP Auto Refinish, the manufacturer of auto paint under the Nippon Paint brand, said that despite the slight drop in car purchases this year because of the previous year’s first-car scheme, the car-paint market was still growing. 
“Our sales hit about Bt814 million in the first nine months of the year and pushed our market share beyond 30 per cent, up from 24 per cent last year,” he said. 
Yet the company believes its overall sales this year will be lower than earlier targeted as negative economic and political factors are causing people to delay their decision to purchase new cars or introduce any repair activities.
However, the company is sticking by its target to boost its sales by 30-35 per cent next year. 
Lower income taxes effective this year, Revenue Dept says
The Revenue Department yesterday confirmed that individuals would enjoy lower income-tax rates starting this tax year, despite the dissolution of Parliament.
Revenue Department director-general Suthichai Sangkamanee said the decree to enforce the individual-income-tax structure had won royal endorsement and should be published in the Royal Gazette next week. 
This ensures that the new law will go into force this tax year, he said.
Those earning less than Bt20,000 a month will not have to pay income tax.
The new structure increases the income-tax brackets from five to seven, while the highest tax rate will be lowered from 37 per cent to 35 per cent.
Suthichai said the burden of most taxpayers, mostly low-income earners, would be lowered by 5-50 per cent. 
While the parliamentary dissolution does not affect the income-tax amendment, Suthichai said more than 10 other amendments proposed by the Revenue Department have been dropped. They include the taxes for debt restructuring.
Farmers assured of payments under rice-pledging scheme
The Thai Farmers Association called for the Ministry of Commerce to explain the delay of payments for rice under the pledging programme amid rumours that the ministry did not have enough money to pay the farmers. 
After meeting with a representative of the association, Yanyong Phuangrach, caretaker deputy minister of commerce, reassured the farmers that the ministry had enough money to pay for pledged rice and that it would be distributed to them soon.
“The ministry has Bt60 billion ready to be distributed to the farmers in the next two weeks but some farmers might be paid as late as the new year. So far the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives has only paid out Bt14 billion for the pledged rice and the programme will end on February 28. 
“I insist that the government has enough money to pay for the programme because Parliament earlier set a cap for the pay-out for this round at Bt270 billion and it is up to the Bureau of the Budget to find it,” Yanyong explained. 
About the rumour, Yanyong said: “I do not understand the need to add confusion for the farmers and society, since there is money to cover the rice-pledging scheme. 
“The money is there, but we have to decide which budget we are going to use, since the BAAC does not want to us to use its reserve fund first because it is worried about the position of the organisation.” 
PTTEP says Thailand's oil, gas reserves ‘enough for 7 years’
Tewin Wongwanich, president and chief executive officer of PTT Exploration and Production, urged all relevant sectors to prepare for a coming energy crisis in Thailand as the country’s reserves of oil and natural gas were only enough for the next seven years.
Speaking at a seminar on Thailand’s place next year amid global trends, held by Chulalongkorn University Engineering Alumni, Tewin said the country ranked 55th in the world in terms of oil reserves. 
Meanwhile, it ranked 33rd in oil production and 22nd in oil consumption. 
Thailand also ranks 44th in the world in natural-gas reserves, 25th in gas production and 17th in gas consumption. 
It currently imports no less than 60 per cent of the energy used in the country, amounting to about Bt1.4 trillion worth last year.
“These figures show that Thailand consumes more energy than it has.
“Evaluating the current reserves of oil and natural gas, they are sufficient only for the next seven years. Studying the potential energy resources in the Kingdom, they will be able to supply the country’s energy reserves for no more than 14 years.” 
He said that Thailand would clearly have to import more energy, and if its price rises in the world market, its energy budget would rise accordingly.