No VAT rise government confirms
The government shot down a plan floated by the interim Parliament to increase the Value Added Tax (VAT) to 8 percent next year from the current 7 percent. The NLA proposed the increase noting it would add over 60 billion baht to the government’s income. Government spokesmen negated the suggestion, noting that the annual review for VAT adjustment was not until October. The government has postponed a 10 percent VAT hike over the years and kept the VAT at 7 percent as it was generally felt that a hike in the VAT would prove harmful to the people, causing difficulty with higher prices. The government cited new collections systems that will increase the tax collected as a more effective way to boost government coffers.
The one ticket proposal for mass transit in Bangkok is set to go into effect on October 1 the Office of the Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning (OTTPP) announced last week. The Spider Web Card systems will be installed on selected routes of the transit rail and public buses although the cards will go on sale on October 1. The cards will cover about 25 percent of the system; card readers will be ready for use at interchange points on the BTS and MRT routes, including Chatuchak and Sukhumvit stations, Phaya Thai station connecting to the ARL and Tao Poon station linking the Purple and Blue lines. There will be one or two dedicated access lanes for the card holders at these stations and some BMTA buses will be fitted out. The entire system is expected to go fully live by March 2018 with systems installed on all buses and at all stations.
The tourism sector generated over 800 billion baht in revenues in the first four months of this year the Ministry of Tourism and Sport announced. Tourist arrivals rose 2.9 percent year on year for the period from January to April 2017 bringing in 840 billion baht. International arrivals rose 7 percent in April led by visitors from China, Malaysia, Russia and Japan. The Ministry noted that although the number of Chinese tourists had declined slightly following the clampdown on zero-dollar tours, it was offset by the rising number of European visitors. Foreign arrivals were around 12 million for the first four months of the year. Tourism accounts for 12 percent of Thailand’s GDP.
A government order went into effect last Friday forcing insurance companies to give a 5 – 10 percent discount on insurance premiums for vehicles equipped with dash cams. The owners must provide photographic evidence of the dash cam and are required to ensure the camera remains functional during the insurance period. All types of vehicles are covered by this new rule and the order was effective on Friday, May 19.
The Department of Business Development announced that 4,783 new businesses were opened in April, a 20 percent increase year on year, with over 20 billion baht worth of capital. Most registrations were made by construction contractors, holding companies, real estate businesses, jewelry traders and restaurants. In the first four months of the year business registrations totaled 23,000, a 10 percent year on year increase, higher than DBD predictions. During the same period a total of 4,471 businesses were closed down, a 14 percent drop year on year.