The business sector has called on the government to protect Bangkok from floods to maintain the confidence of investors, and to also inject money into system to help rapidly rehabilitate the economy. The Thai Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday issued a statement asking the government to try its best to protect Bangkok from floods.
The TCC's statement called on the government to: 1) Put utmost effort into the prevention of flooding in inner Bangkok, as it is the centre for business and communications with overseas trade partners; 2) Provide information on the flood situation in the English language, giving details covering as many angles as possible; 3) Coordinate with the private sector to ensure adquate supplies of consumer goods and accessibility to necessities.
Mr Pongsak said the TCC had set up a flood relief centre to provide assistance to flood affected businesses. “TCC will submit these demands to Commerce Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong for consideration to help coordination between the state and the business sector to protect Bangkok,” he said. Meanwhile, retailers urged the government to prepare post-flood economic rehabilitation measures to enhance recover as soon as possible. The government must rapidly rehabilitate the economy after flood recedes by increasing people's purchasing power, Chatchai Duangrat, director of the Thai Retailers Association, said on Wednesday.
Mr Chatchai said this can be done by an immediate cash injection similar to the “Cheques Help the Nation” scheme implemented by the previous Democrat-led coalition government. This should be the first measure implemented as it could rapidly boost the economy, he added. Moreover, the government should provide interest-free loans for manufacturers to rehabilitate businesses and resume operations as soon as possible, Mr Chatchai said.
He predicted that the flood damage to the economy would be no less than 100 billion baht and it would trim economic growth for the year by between one and two per cent. Mr Chatchai said he will attend a meeting of the Thai Chamber of Commerce tomorrow, Oct 27, to discuss the flood's impact and business rehabilitation plans.
Amid the flood crisis, there was still some good news. US Ambassador to Thailand Kristie Kenney said on Wednesday that the US government and American investors would continue investing in Thailand despite the devastation. The US ambassador said this after visiting Prime Minister Yingluck Shinwatra at the Flood Relief Operations Centre at Don Mueang airport this morning. She was accompanied by a number of US investors who have interests in Thailand, according to the reports.
Ms Kristie said she was concerned about the flood situation in Thailand. The US government was ready to provide support for Thailand’s efforts in dealing with the crisis and will invest more in Thailand after the water recedes, she added. The Bank of Thailand governor was also concerned about the impact of the flooding on the economy. He confirmed that the central bank will not declare Thursday and Friday, Oct 27-28, and Monday Oct 31 an official holiday for financial institutions because it would affect both domestic and overseas trade,
Mr Prasarn yesterday discussed with the managements of Thai and foreign commercial banks the government’s declaration of a five-day holiday over this weekend for state officials in 21 flooded provinces, including Bangkok. “Commercial banks and the Stock Exchange of Thailand will continue their operations as usual. We all agreed that the financial system must be protected to enable it to continue supporting the economy,” he said. The cabinet on Tuesday resolved to declare Oct 27-28 and Monday Oct 31 an official holiday in 21 flood-hit provinces, including Bangkok, to allow officials whose responsibilities do not concern flood prevention to stay home, relieving traffic congestion, or to travel out of Bangkok to other provinces.