Cabinet agrees daily wage to be 400 baht nationwide

TUESDAY, MAY 14, 2024

The Cabinet on Tuesday acknowledged the Finance Ministry’s plan to raise the daily minimum wage to 400 baht nationwide but recommended it be done by September if possible.

The Cabinet was informed by Labour Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn of the plan to push for a 400-baht daily minimum nationwide from October 1.

Phiphat had announced the plan during a May Day celebration to the cheers of workers.

But the announcement has met strong opposition from several business councils, including the Thai Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Thai Industries.

The government has no direct power to increase the daily minimum wage, which is decided by the tripartite Wage Committee. The committee has 15 members, with three five-member teams representing the government, employers and employees. 

Theoretically, if the government representatives joined hands with the employee representatives, the wage rates could be reached in favour of workers.

The Cabinet also acknowledged the measure to provide a 10-year visa exemption for investors in the Eastern Economic Corridor and their foreign workers. The measure is called the EEC Visa measure.

The Cabinet also approved the Finance Ministry’s proposal to lower corporation tax for firms that invest in the EEC to 17%.

During the mobile meeting in Phetchaburi, the Cabinet also approved the Finance Ministry’s proposal to collect 7% VAT (value added tax) on goods ordered from online platforms from abroad that have value of at least 1,500 baht.

The ministry reasoned that the measure would protect Thai small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from dumping of cheap goods from abroad.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said his Cabinet also approved 18 water-management projects for flood prevention in provinces in the lower Central region, worth 514 million baht.

Eight projects were proposed by the joint public-private committee for economic development worth 268 million baht.

The money would come from the fiscal 2024 budget, Srettha said.

Before attending the mobile Cabinet meeting at Rajabhat Phetchaburi University, Srettha led his ministers to take group photos. The prime minister and Cabinet members were dressed in Suwan Wachara pattern shirts, which highlight patterns from pillars of Wat Yai Suwannaram in Phetchaburi.

Srettha also led his ministers to observe an exhibition of the best handicrafts of Phetchaburi. Srettha was given a piece of cloth woven by residents of the Ban Cha-ad community in Cha-am district. The cloth was modelled after the cloth used to wrap the tripitaka.

Srettha said he would cut a shirt from the cloth and wear it when he visits France late this week.

Only Education Minister Permpoon Chidchob was absent from the mobile meeting as he was on an official mission in the Northeast.