Businesses call on govt to let them go back to work
Business operators are calling on the government to allow the resumption of trade in a move to drive the economy, Surong Bulakul, vice chair of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said on Wednesday (April 29).
He said over the past month, most retail outlets have adjusted their strategies to deal with the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Though direct sales have dropped due to the curfew, online shopping has risen by 35 percent,” he said.
He also advised the government to take immediate steps to boost the economy by allowing department stores and shops to resume operations, granting soft loans to small businesses, granting hourly rates to employees, allowing Chinese tourists to return and cutting tariffs, such as local maintenance as well as land and building taxes.
Pramote Manupiboon, assistant vice president of CP All, said consumers are already familiar with the concept of wearing face masks and social distancing, so businesses can safely reopen.
“The business sector expects the measures to eased gradually so operations can resume. This will help most modern-trade operators, small and medium enterprises as well as transport companies,” he said.
Thanawat Pholwichai, director of the Centre for Economic and Business Forecasting for the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC), said the confidence index of business operators stood at 47.2 in the first quarter, the lowest since 2018.
“We surveyed business operators nationwide from March 23 to April 17 and believe this figure indicates that economic slowdown has caused uncertainty,” he said, adding that the negative factors pressuring the business sector are the Covid-19 pandemic, the state of emergency, drought and slump in exports.
“The economic impact this year is estimated at Bt1 trillion, while the impact in the first quarter is expected to be between Bt300 billion and Bt400 billion,” he added.