Thai cabinet approves ฿20bn loan to reduce diesel prices
Thailand’s cabinet today (Tuesday) approved a 20 billion baht loan, from the State Oil Fund, to maintain diesel prices at no more than 30 baht per litre for 4 months.
The move comes as, earlier today, hundreds of truckers rallied in protest of the high diesel prices, currently between 29-35 baht/litre, and demanded the government bring it down to 25 baht per litre.
Before the cabinet announced its decision to seek a loan, a group of truckers, under the Land Transport Federation, threatened to hike transportation fees by 10%.
At the press briefing, conducted after the weekly cabinet meeting concluded today, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha asked the federation to not pressure the cabinet and to put the country first instead.
Adding that the government will continue to monitor the world oil situation, Gen Prayut also said he hopes that the prices will go down and return to normal soon.
Under the campaign named “Truck Power 2” about 500 truckers gathered at the Ministry of Energy early this afternoon, to submit a letter to the ministry about their proposal to bring the prices down by removing palm oil from biodiesel and reducing excise taxes.
Minister of Energy, Supattanapong Punmeechaow, said that the government has used the oil fund to make sure prices do not exceed 30 baht per litre and it is a policy that has been going on for a long time, but more financial support is needed now that prices have reached 34 baht per litre.
Currently, the oil fund is running dry, despite receiving loans, and it is still does not have enough to reduce the price to 25 baht, he said.