Critics blast government petrol policies

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Critics of the government said on Friday that the administration should lower public transport fares to help lower income people instead of suggesting outdated ideas on how to cope with rising oil prices.

“Why is it that the leader of the country can only think of outdated ideas,” said Kritsada Tontherdthit, Pheu Thai’s member of parliament for Nong Khai and former deputy secretary-general of the Federation of Thai Industries said.

Kritsada cites recent government suggestions on fixing the oil crisis including asking people to only use their private cars when necessary, clean their air filters, or use public buses.

“To help support people purchasing power, General Prayut should consider bringing back Phalang Prachachon’s policies to temporarily provide free public busses and trains for people with low income during such situation,” he said.

Kritsada said global oil prices might be dropping in recent days but it might be only temporary and he still believes that the prices will continue to go up as the war between Russia and Ukraine continues.

International benchmark Brent crude oil was trading at US$109.64 per barrel on Friday afternoon compared to $96.84 per barrel on February 23, a day before Russia invaded Ukraine.

Local prices were also rising with Bangchak Gasohol 95 S EVO selling at 40.15 baht per liter compared to 36.15 on February 24.

Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-ocha have urged Thais to use public transport in recent days as the oil prices continue to climb.

Critics pointed out that General Prayut is not leading by example as he is still travelling in an entourage of vans and police motorbike escorts to the cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

Kasikorn Research Center said in its report on Friday that the number of households with lowered purchasing power from rising living costs is increasing where 33.8 per cent of surveyed households in February said they do not have enough income to meet their monthly expenses.

These households are looking to buy cheaper products in order to cope with inflation and 35.2 per cent of them needed to find 10-20 per cent more income to meet their expenses.

The research house expects the war in Ukraine to add risk to the Thai economy.

Graphic by Kasikorn Research Center

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