Bangkok (VNA) – The Thai cabinet on March 22 adopted a 10-point plan to ease the increasing living cost burden on locals due to impacts of the rising fuel prices arising from the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

The conflict has affected the cost of production and transportation of goods and services, causing the cost of living to rise, especially for low-income earners and labourers, Prime Minister Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was quoted by local media as saying at a press conference after the weekly cabinet meeting on March 22.

He said that after evaluating the Russia-Ukraine situation, authorities believe the conflict might not end soon. He ordered agencies concerned to brainstorm ways to provide urgent help beyond the measures already issued and in use now. The new measures, at least 10, are expected to last from May until July, he added.

The new measures include increasing the state subsidy for cooking gas for 3.6 million state welfare cardholders from 45 baht to 100 baht a month, providing one 100-baht discount per month to 5,500 vendors and hawkers who hold state welfare cards, and reducing gasohol costs by 250 baht per month for 157,000 working motorcycle drivers registered with the Department of Land Transport.

Meanwhile, the retail price of NGV will be maintained at 15.59 baht (0.47 USD) per kilogramme. Metered taxi drivers under the Lom Hai Jai Diow Gun (Breathe Together) project will be supported to buy natural gas for 13.62 baht per kilogramme. Those who use less than 300 units of electricity per month will enjoy reduction in the fuel tariff by 22 satang per unit from May to August. The retail price of diesel will be kept at 30 baht per litre until the end of April.

At the same time, the rate of social security contributions for both employers and employees under Section 33 of the Social Security Act will be cut from 5 percent to 1 percent to give employees more spending power and employers more liquidity to run their businesses.

The cabinet also agreed to suspend half the 9.3 billion baht debt that thousands of farmers owe to state banks, with the rest to be restructured within 15 years.

The Thai PM said he had ordered the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives and the Ministry of Commerce to issue urgent measures to help farmers before the harvesting season by ensuring the supply of raw materials. He vowed to move ahead with the country’s rehabilitation plan in the short, medium and long terms, including creating trade and investment opportunities with other countries and reopening the country to tourism./.