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Gov’t Promises New Economic-Stimulus ‘New Year’s Gifts’

Thais shop at street carts and outdoor markets in Pattaya in mid-November 2020. (Photo: Bangkok Herald)
Thais shop at street carts and outdoor markets in Pattaya in mid-November 2020. (Photo: Bangkok Herald)

The government is planning to deliver new economic-stimulus programs as “New Year’s gifts” to the public, officials said Tuesday.

While not detailing what those plans are, Prayut said that since Thailand has controlled the coronavirus outbreak “it is time to solve people’s economic problems and support the national economy”.

Finance Ministry Permanent Secretary Krisada Chinavicharana echoed those comments in a speech to the Wealth Forum on Tuesday, saying new programs will be introduced within weeks.

One certain item on the agenda is expansion of the hugely successful “co-pay” scheme that allows Thais to get 50 percent discounts at designated retailers, restaurants and service providers with the government reimbursing the business for the discount.

Krisada said that the government likely increase the number of eligible people in the next round of registrations, pending a report on expected applicants from Krungthai Bank.

As of Nov. 15, more than 8 million people used the scheme and 680,000 vendors joined it, including about 90,000 street vendors. The second phase of the program is expected to be opened to more than 10 million Thais.

Krisada said the ministry will continue to promote economic growth, maintain the employment rate and expedite government spending. The ministry is sure its measures will help rebuild confidence among international companies to enable them to invest in Thailand once again.

To that end, Prayut will meet virtually Wednesday with executives from large-scaled American companies including Apple, 3M, Ford, General Electric, Citibank, FedEx, Bayer and Pfizer to discuss investment possibilities.

The Finance Ministry chief, in his speech, noted that Thailand’s economy is steadily improving, although it remains in recession.

Economic output in the third quarter fell 6.4 percent from a year earlier but fourth quarter gross domestic product is expected to fall only 3.5-4.5 percent. And next year, Krisada said, the economy next year is expected to grow by 3.5-4.5 percent.

He noted the government has been pursuing financial and monetary measures, using the 1-trillion-baht emergency loan for economic recovery, with funding now being disbursed for related projects.

This story combines reports from the National News Bureau of Thailand and the Thai News Agency.