The Nation




Enough funding on hand for pledging, minister says

The Commerce Ministry will have enough money to see the rice-pledging programme through the 2013-14 harvest season, caretaker minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan said.

He said that about 8 million tonnes of paddy had participated so far in this year's pledging, with another 2 million tonnes expected to come in over the next two months, after which the project will end its first round. That will require Bt190 billion to cover.

"We want to reaffirm that we have enough funding to facilitate the rice-pledging scheme, allocated from three sources. Those sources are money raised from rice released from stockpiles, the government's budget, and loans.

"The operation of rice-pledging scheme for its second round, however, will depend on what the new government decides," he said.

92.7m mobile devices imported

Thailand has imported 92.7 million mobile phones and tablet computers worth more than Bt650 billion since 2009, according to the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission.

Of the 3,800 models of mobile phone models and tablets available, the most popular brands are iPhone, Samsung and Nokia. I-mobile is the only Thai brand in the top five. The data cover only devices brought in by licensed importers.

Last year alone, 23 million units were imported. This year, up until December 19, 10.66 million units were imported.

NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasit says Thailand now has 90 million subscribers to mobile services.

The commission plans to auction of more mobile broadband licences on the 1,800-megahertz spectrum next year to serve the high demand for third-generation wireless broadband communications in Thailand.

Orange Line gets go-ahead

The Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) has given the green light to the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand's planned Orange Line.

The route will run from Thailand Cultural Centre Station towards Suwinthawong Raod and Bang Khun Non.

NESDB secretary-general Arkhom Termpittayphaisith said Thailand was in dire need of investment in transport infrastructure, especially the railway system, since logistics costs are high when compared with other countries because the Kingdom's heavy dependence on the road system.

The 35.4-kilometre Orange Line route will cost around Bt190 billion. The first phase worth Bt80 billion to Bt90 billion is slated for completion in December 2018. The second phase worth Bt100 billion will be finished in 2019.

SET holds tax incentive funds fair

The Stock Exchange of Thailand, together with the Association of Investment Management Companies and asset-management firms, is holding a funds fair at CentralWorld in Bangkok to promote long-term equity funds (LTFs) and retirement mutual funds (RMFs) as tax-saving and long-term investment instruments.

The fair started on Thursday and ends tomorrow.

The value of mutual funds so far this year has grown by 12 per cent from the end of 2012 to Bt2.92 trillion.

Kesara Manchusree, SET executive vice president and head of its Markets Division, said the exchange had expanded its investor base via mutual funds for 10 consecutive years.

This year's campaign has successfully attracted individuals to mutual funds as an alternative tool with several marketing activities.

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