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Prayut admits govt has run out of money after capping diesel price for months


Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha asked truck operators on Thursday to be understanding, saying the government has run out of money after capping the diesel oil price at THB30 for months.

Government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana quoted Prayut as saying he would like truck operators to understand that the government cannot afford to continue with the present diesel price cap after April 30.

Thanakorn said Prayut was referring to a demand by Land Transportation Association of Thailand members, who rallied in front of Government House briefly on Wednesday, that the government continue to cap the diesel price at THB30.

Thanakorn quoted Prayut as explaining that the government had spent tens of billions of baht from the Oil Fund until it had dried up. The government had also spent all of the loans borrowed for pegging the retail diesel price.

“As a result, this is the time everybody needs to cooperate and the government will try its best to take care of all sectors,” the spokesman quoted the prime minister as saying.

He also quoted Prayut as emphasising that the government would carefully use the remaining money to try to mitigate the impact of the oil price crisis.

Prayut said the Oil Fund had earlier used several measures to try to keep oil prices from rising and the government had also reduced the diesel excise tax by THB3 per litre to try to keep the price low.

Thanakorn said the government would start cutting the subsidy for diesel oil from May 1. The retail price would be adjusted to THB32 on the first day and be increased step by step until it reaches a cap of THB35. Without any subsidy, the price would be THB40 per litre, the spokesman pointed out.

He said the Fuel Fund Executive Committee and the Energy Ministry are now drafting measures to help blunt the impact from the rising diesel price. Other government agencies will also come up with solutions.

“The government will introduce measures to bring down manufacturing costs to minimise the impact on low-income people. I affirm that the prime minister and his government understand the grievances of all sectors and we will try our best to tackle the woes,” the spokesman added.

Published : April 28, 2022

By : THE NATION