Sretta’s first cabinet meeting: key outcomes

On Tuesday, following the first weekly meeting of the Sretta cabinet, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Sretta Thavisin, stated that Deputy PM Phumtham Wechayachai has been appointed to lead the establishment of the Committee for Studying Approaches to Constitutional Referendum, aimed at reconciling different views on constitutional amendment.

The process will follow the guidelines of the Constitutional Court and will utilise the Parliament to seek a consensus on an approach to amending the Constitution and conducting referendums, ensuring the participation of the public in designing democratic rules.

Other outcomes are as follows:

Civil Servant Salary Payment Changed to Bi-Monthly:

The government has altered the payment schedule for civil servants, shifting from monthly to bi-monthly payments. Sretta stated that the details will be re-announced, but the change is anticipated to come into effect on January 1, 2027. This adjustment necessitates modifications to various systems and cannot be executed immediately. The Prime Minister believes this will alleviate the financial burden on lower-ranking civil servants. With bi-monthly payments, they won't need to borrow money or wait until the end of the month to receive their income. Nevertheless, civil servants have the option to opt in.

Electricity and oil prices reduction:

The government has approved a reduction in electricity prices, from 4.45 Baht to 4.10 Baht per kilowatt-hour, which Sretta said exceeds the expectations of the public. This reduction will begin in the billing cycle starting this September. Similarly, diesel prices will be lowered to below 30 Baht per litre, effective from September 20th. Regarding gasoline prices, discussions have taken place, but the specific details will need to be carefully examined, especially for those who are most affected. Additional measures will be introduced in due course.

Temporary visa waivers for travellers from China and Kazakhstan:

The government has approved temporary visa waivers for travellers from China and Kazakhstan, the latter experiencing severe winter conditions.  Effective from September 25, 2023, until February 29, 2027, these are temporary exceptions. Kazakhstani has shown a continuous interest in traveling to Thailand. Sretta said the visa waiver discussions have taken place among all relevant sectors, including the Airports of Thailand (AOT), Tourism Authority of Thailand and the security sector, to ensure readiness for the program.

Establishment of National Soft Power Strategy Committee:

The government agreed to establish a National Soft Power Strategy Committee, to align the government's policy to enhance the potential of Thai citizens and generate income. The PM said this initiative aims to create opportunities for the Thai people. 

Debt relief for farmers and SMEs:

Sretta stated that debt relief for farmers and small businesses has been extended to a period of three years.

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