The Nation



Ministries carry on despite dissolution call

Major ministries are carrying on with their existing policies and work schedules despite the dissolution of Parliament announced yesterday by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Somchart Soithong, director-general of the Commerce Ministry's Internal Trade Department, reaffirmed that the rice-pledging scheme would be continued according to the Cabinet's approval on the first crop of.

He said that between October 1 and December 7, the amount of paddy rice allocated by farmers into the pledging programme exceeded 6 million tonnes. The Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) has paid out more than Bt50 billion to farmers under the project.

"The Finance Ministry is resolving the delay of payments to many farmers from the BAAC for their rice pledging. The Commerce Ministry has also sped up the release of rice from its stockpiles to generate money to put back into the system," Somchart said.

An official at the Finance Ministry who asked not to be named said it would proceed with the mobilisation of additional funds for the BAAC to allocate under the rice-pledging scheme. Last month it raised Bt37 billion and must raise another Bt38 billion.

Fund-raising 'can proceed'

"This fund-raising was approved by the Cabinet before the House dissolution. It can proceed. However, borrowing beyond this is impossible, as it would breach the Bt410-billion borrowing limit set for the scheme. If the Commerce Ministry cannot release stockpiles and top up the funding pool, there could be a problem," he said.

Energy Minister Pongsak Ruktapongpisal said Parliament's dissolution did not affect the work of state officials, including the continuity of the rooftop solar project and Power Development Plan.

Energy Ministry permanent secretary Suthep Liamsiricharoen said all government officers would have to continue their work, especially when it came to overseeing power security.

Yukol Limlamthong, the minister of agriculture and cooperatives, said all of the ministry's policies and projects regarding agricultural development would be continued.

The only problem was how to ensure that individual farmers do not rely entirely on the government's populist policies, which would weaken them. Farmers should rely on themselves, which will be a key factor in readying them for the coming Asean Economic Community, Yukol said.

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