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Administer more third doses and quicker, Federation of Thai Industries urges govt

Thailand should quicken the pace of administering the third dose of Covid-19 vaccines to keep the Omicron situation from getting worse as in the UK, Federation of Thai Industries vice-chairman Kriengkrai Thiennukul recommended.

According to Kriengkrai, the UK is administering the third dose to their citizens “slowly”.

He said the UK’s population is nearly the same as Thailand’s but they have administered only 20 million third doses.

Kriengkrai said Thailand has already given 5 million of its population booster doses but urged the government to administer 45 million more booster doses quickly to prevent Omicron from spreading widely.

He expected the third-dose goal to be reached in three months.

Without mentioning the Omicron situation, the World Bank speculated that Thailand’s GDP would grow by 3.9-4 per cent in 2022.

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Meanwhile, the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking expected the GDP to grow by 3-4.5 per cent.

Foreign countries may have to enforce lockdown measures again, while exports could be affected as cargo ships, ports and personnel cut down on work.

Therefore, Thailand’s services industry and tourism sector might be affected more than before.

National Shippers’ Council chairman Chaichan Chareonsuk felt the government must clearly inform its people of the Omicron situation. To avoid confusion, the public should not have to search for information themselves, he said.

Chaichan said citizens should question whether the government has enough funds to compensate businesses or stimulate the economy if the Omicron situation gets worse.

He added that the manufacturing sector to do with exports is faring well. It grew by 16.4 per cent in the first 11 months of 2021. However, it earned less profit year-on-year because oil prices have increased.

Chaichan said the challenge for the next year is to control the cost of production and product prices, which can lead to inflation and affect wages.

Meanwhile, Thai Chamber of Commerce chairman Sanan Angubolkul said the government’s accomplishment in 2021 is administering 100 million doses of vaccines along with its plan to administer more booster doses to the public.

The government is also promoting and pushing exports, which are expected to grow by 15 per cent this year.

Moreover, he said, the government launched a host of successful economic stimulus schemes, such as “Kon La Khreung” (Let’s Go Halves) and “Rao Tiew Duay Kan” (We Travel Together).

However, there were also unsuccessful schemes such as “Ying Chai, Ying Dai” (Spend More, Get More), the asset warehousing programme and a soft loan scheme.

Published : December 30, 2021