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COVID impact puts government projects on the backburner

COVID impact puts government projects on the backburner

PHUKET: Loss of income due to the economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 situation will result in some local government projects being suspended for the foreseeable future, Wichit Mayor Kreetha Chotiwichphiphat has announced.


By Eakkapop Thongtub

Thursday 10 September 2020, 05:07PM


Wichit Mayor Kreetha Chotiwichphiphat says Wichit Municipality has to tighten its belt for at least the coming year. Photo: Wichit Municipality

Wichit Mayor Kreetha Chotiwichphiphat says Wichit Municipality has to tighten its belt for at least the coming year. Photo: Wichit Municipality

Specifically hard hit are land and property taxes, signboard tax, among others, which so far this year are B70 million less than last year, Mayor Kreetha told a press conference held at Sri Phuwanat Park on Pattana-Thongtin Rd last night (Sept 9).

As a measure to provide some financial relief to the people during the COVID crises, municipalities have been ordered to suspend collecting certain property taxes until at least next month, he said.

Mayor Kreetha explained that local administrative organisations have been ordered to extend the period for collecting taxes due under Sections 46, 60 and 61 of the Land and Building Tax Act 2019.

Collection of any land and building taxes have been extended until the end of October, he said.

Collection land and building tax installment will be extended, with payments due in installments. The first installment is due by the end of October, the second installment is due by the end of November, and the third installment is due by the end of December, he added.

Warning letters will be sent to those who have not made any tax payments by the end of November, Mr Kreetha noted, adding that municipalitie have until the end of December to report unpaid taxes to the Department of Lands.

Further adding to the financial strain Wichit Municipality is experiencing has been the “survivor packs” of food and essential daily consumer goods handed out to people in the municipality’s area, Mr Kreetha said.

MIA KAI HIGHER

During the lockdown, Wichit Municipality spent about B27 million handing out “survivor packs” to about 60,000 people from an estimated 30,000 households, he added.

The survivor packs were handed out two separate times, he noted.

“As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the municipality has had problems with income, so we have to cut some projects from the 2020 budget and add them to the list of projects to be funded through the 2021 budget,” Mr Kreetha said.

“We have to re-plan projects for the coming year, control unnecessary expenses, and prepare officials for a possible second wave of infections,” he added.

Among the projects to be put delayed until the next fiscal year are the B38mn construction of a multipurpose building for the elderly; the excavation of a well beside the Wichit Municipality’s Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation division building, which also serves as the municipality’s fire department; and the installation of new street signs, he concluded.

Of note, Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew has already annoucned that provincial budgets have been trimmed in order to fund COVID-19 relief projects.

Among them the project to purchase a B26mn fire boat has been shelved for now, in order to fund grassroots projects to restart the island’s economy, Gov Narong confirmed last week.

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