Ceramics manufacturers caught in cost squeeze
THE COMMERCE MINISTRY'S SME development committee early next month will discuss ways to |rescue the ceramics industry, which |is buckling under rising operating costs.
Thanin Paem, deputy secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB), said yesterday that ceramic makers had been hit hard by the higher price of liquefied petroleum gas used by industry and in the minimum wage as well as the slump in exports.
He said Commerce Minister Niwatthumrong Boonsongpaisan |had ordered the NESDB to seek |ways to help the industry. The board has already held two talks with operators in local areas to learn their problems.
Vongchai Srithai, vice president of the Lampang Ceramic Association, said it had called on the government to provide soft loans of Bt1.5 billion with a 3-per-cent interest rate for the ceramics business in the province to upgrade plants and establish a central furnace that can be shared by operators.
Lampang has 300 ceramic plants, of which 80 per cent belong to small and medium-sized enterprises.