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PM offers apology for “confusion” over 5,000 baht handouts – VIDEO

Jack Burton

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PHOTO: Thai Residents

Since PM Prayut Chan-o-cha announced a 5,000 baht monthly handout for “informal” workers affected by the Covid-19 crisis, there has been conflicting information, extensions, denials and general confusion. And rejected Thais fronting up to the Finance Ministry and waving their bottoms at surprised ministry officials in protest.

Yesterday he offered a public apology for the government’s “miscommunication” and assured the nation that the government is doing its best to help all affected groups by providing them with the cash over the next 3 months. He added, however, that if the situation eases within that period and people can return to work, the handouts might not be necessary.

“Please feel relieved,” the PM said yesterday, explaining that he had no intention to cause misunderstanding, only to explain to the people about how the government secures funding.

On Wednesday he said that the government could only afford the first month’s payment of the 5,000 baht subsidy, and only for about 9 million of the 20 million people who applied, mostly freelancers, self-employed workers and small traders. For the 11 million workers covered by the social security scheme, between 200-300 billion baht from Social Security Fund will be used to fund the subsidy and, for the 17 million people in the farming sector, the funds will come from a phased 1 trillion baht loan.

The original announcement, part of a 117 billion baht stimulus package, was payments for 3 months, but this was later extended to 6 months, despite the overwhelming number of applicants, many of whom, it turns out, aren’t eligible for the aid, including the nation’s estimated 300,000 sex workers.

The PM repeated calls for all members of the public to observe the social distancing and the national curfew, to help reduce the number of new infections so the situation improves enough that some of the restrictions can be eased, perhaps as soon as the end of the month.

?Live ด่วน! ประชาชนที่โดนตัดสิทธิ์เงิน 5 พัน ฮือบุกเข้าไปในอาคารกระทรวงการคลัง

Posted by Khaosod – ข่าวสด on Monday, April 13, 2020

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

 

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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