Minister swears he’s doing what he can to keep diesel at 30 baht per litre
In response to the Land Transport Federation of Thailand (LTFT)’s demand that he be sacked for failing to control the price of diesel, Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow said he had considered every proposal from every protest.
He added that every effort would be made to maintain the price of diesel at 30 baht per litre until March 31 thanks to the 5-baht subsidy provided by the Oil Fund. Otherwise, he said, the price of diesel would have surged to 35 baht per litre.
As for bringing the price down to 25 baht per litre, he said protesters should look at how they achieved this number and who would be beneficial.
When asked if he was helping capitalists by reducing the price of jet fuel but not the price of diesel, Supattanapong said the measure was temporary and only introduced to help the airline industry which is struggling from the aftermath of Covid-19.
He added that the ministry will consider additional measures based on the global price of crude oil. He admitted that the sudden 6-baht surge in oil price within a month was shocking, but said the government had no other options.
Supattanapong added that he understands people are fed up, but little can be done because it is a global crisis.
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As for LTFT threatening to boost transport prices by 20 per cent if the government fails to provide help, the minister said it depends on the market mechanics. He added that the government cannot intervene if the private sector insists on increasing prices because it is a free market.
Lorry drivers from across the country were scheduled to gather outside the Energy Ministry on Bangkok’s Vibhavadi Rangsit road to protest on Tuesday.