Bt1.9bn in ThaiHealth funding set to resume

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

The massive Thai Health Promotion Organisation fund is ready to be unlocked as related regulations have been amended, while the selection of seven ThaiHealth specialist committee members will be held today, the government has said.

Deputy Prime Minister Admiral Narong Pipatanasai revealed yesterday he had signed the amendment for 15 ThaiHealth regulations that obstructed the transparent sponsorship on ThaiHealth projects. The move would allow the organisation to resume providing Bt1.9 billion to its partners, he said.

Narong said if Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha approved resuming the funding, ThaiHealth could distribute its funds without the action being inspected by the Monitoring and Auditing Committee on Fiscal Expenditure as in the past.

He said he would head the seven specialist committee members selected today, with the list of committee members to be put to the Cabinet for approval.

He said none of the previous committee members reapplied for the positions.

ThaiHealth to have new focus

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



CEO concedes problems with funding and taxation

THE NEW Thai Health Promotion Foundation’s (ThaiHealth) chief said yesterday he had plans to develop the organisation into a professional healthcare supporter.

At the same time, there were still uncertainties about the delay of project funding and tax problems among ThaiHealth partners.

Dr Supreda Adulyanon, newly appointed ThaiHealth chief executive officer, speaking for the first time since his appointment last month said his policy was to develop professional health promotion, which was more straightforward and systematic. He would try to make it clear to the public what ThaiHealth did and was trying to achieve.

“ThaiHealth was set up 15 years ago with no organisation to follow. Health promotion was a new concept for Thai society, so the first years of the organisation were an age of trial and error,” Supreda said. “Now, we have gained enough experience in health promotion work with Thai society, so the next stage of our health promotion will be more professional.”

He said that ThaiHealth would scope the health promotion work to be clearer and more organised. It would also be reformed to work more professionally, based on strict inspection and transparency.

On project funding delays, which caused more than 2,000 projects sponsored by ThaiHealth to cease operations, he admitted they were still unable to unlock funding for all projects – even though ThaiHealth had amended its funding regulations.

“We are very sorry for our partners. We are doing our best to continue the funding again, but more procedures have been added to the funding consideration process which caused the disruption and extended the delay to beyond the timeframe of three months,” he said. However, he said the funding suspension was still active for projects which cost more than Bt5 million.

On Tuesday, the Thai Health Promotion Movement – together with many affected public organisations – went to the Public Health Ministry to hand in a petition on the ThaiHealth issue to Public Health Minister Dr Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn.

Earlier, the Revenue Department tried to collect tax retrospectively for up to five years on all sponsorships ThaiHealth had granted to public organisations to carry out the project.

Supreda said ThaiHealth was now discussing with Revenue Department ways out of this difficulty. “This is the problem of disparity in interpretation of the law. We have already talked once with the deputy director of the Revenue Department about this issue and we are going to have more discussions,” he said. He admitted the tax problem might not be solved easily in the next few months and he hoped the Revenue Department would understand the work procedures of ThaiHealth. The organisation is also seeking seven new ThaiHealth specialist board members.


New ThaiHealth head appointed

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation




DR SUPREEDA Adulyanon was formally appointed as Thai Health Promotion Foundation (ThaiHealth) manager, while there was still no clear solution for both project funding and the public organisations’ tax problems.

Yesterday, ThaiHealth hosted the first committee meeting of the year on the major issues, setting up a selection committee to choose new ThaiHealth specialist board members, the approval of new ThaiHealth manager and the progress of ThaiHealth rules reformation.

ThaiHealth committee chairman and deputy Prime Minister Admiral Narong Pipatanasai revealed that ThaiHealth board agreed to appoint Dr Udomsil Srisangnam, ThaiHealth fund consultant, to be the head of the selection committee.

Narong ensured that appointment of the selection committee would strictly comply with ThaiHealth procedures there was no political influence or interference from the alcohol and cigarette businesses.

On the issue of funding and taxation problems that the partner organizations of ThaiHealth have faced, he said the ThaiHealth funding process was still under the heavy regulation of the Monitoring and Auditing Committee on Fiscal Expenditure and no projects with a budget over Bt5 million will granted yet, no matter if the projects are the governmental “Pracha Rath” projects or ordinary projects.

While Supreeda stated that the tax problem was not discussed in the meeting, however he revealed that ThaiHealth has already talked to the Revenue Department about this issue.

“I asked our partners to be patient. This is a problem on an interpretation of the law and there will be more discussions ahead to solve this problem,” he said.

Prior to the ThaiHealth committee meeting, Thai Health Promotion Movement staged a demonstration at the ThaiHealth office in Bangkok to signal the group demands to see a transparent new ThaiHealth specialist board members selection and also for a solution to the halt of the public projects budget and retrospective taxation on public organisations.

Around 100 members of the group came from affected public organisations, which sponsored by ThaiHealth, have staged symbolic activities and sent petition letters to Narong and Public Health Minister Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn.

The symbolic activities included lying down on the ground to signify that public organisations need help and white ribbons with the sentence “Protect the ThaiHealth Reform, protect ThaiHealth” bonding to express the support for transparent committee member selection.

Kamron Chudecha, representative of Thai Health Promotion Movement, said to the ThaiHealth committee chairman that he would like to urge him to tackle the public organisations’ problems of funding and taxation and he would like to see the ThaiHealth specialist board members selection to be clear and without political influence. “We heard the news that there were efforts to influence the new board members selection, so we want the process to be strict on ThaiHealth rules and have no interference from outside powers,” Kamron said.

Narong received the letters from Kamron and bonded a ribbon with the group, then went to the meeting room without speaking to the |protesters.

Arunee Srito from National Informal Labour Coordination Centre stated that the group did not oppose the reformation and inspection on ThaiHealth but she want to see the urgent problems solving for the public organisations because they can no longer operate the public work properly anymore.

“I have a hope that the problems will be solved soon because of the Prime Minister’s soft stance toward ThaiHealth. However, if the meeting result turns out negatively, we are ready to continue our campaign,” Arunee said.


ThaiHealth given go ahead, NCPO selects second deputy chair

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) invoked the interim charter’s Article 44 yesterday to reactivate the Thai Health Promotion Foundation (ThaiHealth) board and appointed a new deputy board chairperson.

The NCPO will allow the remaining ThaiHealth board members to resume operations after they were unable to hold meetings due to the absence of the second deputy committee chairman, who the NCPO had removed along with six other board members due to their links to public organisations sponsored by ThaiHealth.

Ticha na Nakorn, one of the remaining ThaiHealth specialist board members, said she was certain that one of the two specialists, herself and Chamnan Phichetphan, were in the running.

“ThaiHealth has a rule that if an executive member of the committee is absent, the board cannot operate. However, this Friday we will have an important meeting to approve the new ThaiHealth manager. If the committee cannot operate in time, ThaiHealth’s work will be further delayed,” Ticha explained.

“Therefore, it is important that the board be allowed to work properly without any legal problems.”

She also disclosed that officials had asked if she was willing to accept the position and that she had decided not to make a decision until the position was offered to Chamnan first.

“I’m not interested in the post. I’m not very good at management, but if it is necessary, I will take the position so the ThaiHealth board can continue working,” she said.

The newly nominated second deputy committee chairman will have to first be approved by the Cabinet before taking the post officially. This process will have to be completed before Friday, ahead of the next round of the ThaiHealth board’s meeting.

Lawyers Council to defend health groups

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



THE LAWYERS Council of Thailand has vowed to help a network of civic health groups facing legal issues related to the ThaiHealth Promotion Foundation controversy.

It also advised non-profit organisations affected by the drama not to sign any legal documents or pay requested tax bills until talking with a lawyer.

Yesterday representatives from the Thai Health Movement, which comprises 20 non-profit organisations, went to the Lawyers Council’s office in Bangkok to ask for legal advice as they said the Revenue Department had ordered more than 100 non-profit organisations to pay retroactive tax of up to five years.

The overall tax requests were worth Bt800 million. It was calculated from the funds that the organisations received from the Thai Health Promotion Foundation (ThaiHealth).

Council chairman Dej-Udom Krairit said the council would investigate two aspects of the issue – the retroactive tax element and ThaiHealth’s funds being frozen.

“We are glad to help everyone with legal advice. However, we would like to ask every affected public organisation to send an official petition to the council, so we can set up working teams to look after everyone’s problems,” Dej-Udom said.

He said that in the meantime the organisations told to pay retroactive tax, register the value-added tax and affix a tax stamp should not do anything until getting legal advice.

“This is a problem resulting from a different taxation law interpretation.

“The Revenue Department interpreted the law on the tax collector’s side, so they think the public organisations should pay income tax from ThaiHealth’s sponsorships,” he explained. “However, the taxpayers have a right to contest the Revenue Department’s interpretation by explaining that based on taxation law their operations do not fit the criteria for having to pay tax.”

Foundation for Consumers secretary general Saree Ongsomwang stated that the tax-avoidance allegation against the organisations had damaged their reputations.

Saree insisted that the income of social workers had been taxed and the money from ThaiHealth was used on social work, so there was no need to pay retroactive tax.

Saree called on the Lawyers Council to advise them whether to take legal action against ThaiHealth and the Monitoring and Auditing Committee on Fiscal Expenditure, as suspending ThaiHealth’s funding in October had resulted in many projects being halted and many organisations were forced to lay off their staff or close down.