The Thai PM has ordered the Ministry of Energy to accelerate measures to reduce the price of diesel. According to a Bangkok Post report, Prayut Chan-o-cha met with several of his deputies yesterday to discuss the ongoing crisis, which has led to truck drivers around the country coming out in protest.
The Ministry of Energy has stated that measures will be introduced next month, but the PM wants faster action. He has also called for the price of diesel to be reduced to under 30 baht a litre. This request appears to indicate a compromise by the government, after officials initially refused to give in to truck driver demands.
Drivers have been calling for the price to be dropped to 25 baht a litre and fixed at that rate for a year. Truck drivers across the country, supported by the Land Transport Federation of Thailand, have been threatening to strike if their demands are not met. Last week, a convoy of trucks drove to the Ministry of Energy to make their point. However, Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow has previously stated that dropping the price to 25 baht a litre would be impossible. Supattanapong says the government will continue paying subsidies of 2 baht a litre as prices drop globally.
The Bangkok Post reports that the average diesel price was 28 baht a litre as of yesterday. According to Supattanapong, PTT Plc is likely to lower it further and other companies are expected to follow. The minister says 20 billion baht has been set aside to subsidise the price for between 4 and 5 months, adding that fixing it at 25 baht a litre would require up to 15 billion baht a month.
Supattanapong says a meeting of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries on December 4 will decide what happens with the price of oil globally. The price of diesel has dropped worldwide since countries like the US, China, India, and Japan started releasing reserves instead of importing oil. According to Supattanapong, the move is good for countries like Thailand, but has frustrated OPEC.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post