Dive into the heart of Thailand’s government strategies, as they strategize ways to minimize operational expenses in public transportation, anchored on the idea of reducing fuel costs for motorcycle taxi drivers. A second wave of the energy cost subsidy for these drivers is in the pipeline, uncovered none other than by the permanent secretary for energy, Prasert Sinsukprasert. This idea, solidified into a proposal by the Department of Energy Business, is currently under the scrutinizing eyes of the Ministry of Energy for approval. Secure in this proposal is the crisp, cool 600 million baht fund assigned for this subsidy scheme.
Interestingly, this vast fund does not require the cabinet’s concurrence for approval. Prasert Sinsukprasert, the energy tycoon himself, elucidates that sanctioning power lies in the hands of the Prime Minister, Srettha Thavisin, and the Energy Minister, Pirapan Salirathavibhaga. In a reassuring gesture, Sinsukprasert emphasizes that the fund will not call for Cabinet approval, dismissing any potential concerns. Energy Minister Salirathavibhaga further tantalized the audience by noting that additional details about the project will be revealed as soon as the ministry finalizes its preparation.
Circling back to the pilot phase, the project had significant strides. It initially offered a remarkable 50% fuel cost co-payment for 106,655 motorcycle-taxi drivers, defining eligibility being a valid license from the Department of Land Transport as of March 22, the previous year. From May to July, these chosen drivers reveled in a daily limit of 50 baht per person and a monthly cap of 250 baht, which amounted to a fiscal commitment of 79.99 million baht by the government. An added cherry on top was the mark of an income tax exemption for these drivers.
Drawing from the experience of the first phase, the length of time taken to renew a driving license while benefiting from the subsidy was seen as a significant obstacle. Yet, it is strongly anticipated that this concern will have been effectively dealt with in preparation for this exciting second phase.
While on the topic of Thai taxi drivers, they often unfairly fall prey to an unsavory reputation, causing hesitation amongst foreigners. However, on a brighter and certainly stand-out note, one motorcycle driver in Nonthaburi was seen as a beacon of honesty, after returning 100,000 Thai baht to its rightful owner. This act of integrity undeniably seems like a silver lining cutting through the discouraging reports of our taxi drivers being involved in scamming and robbing.
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