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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

PM warns not everyone eligible for 5000 baht aid package

Jack Burton

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PHOTO: Thai PBS World

“About 20 million people have registered for the assistance. But this does not mean they will all get the money.”

A week ago, the Thai government announced it would supply “informal workers” with 5000 baht per month for 3 months during the Covid-19 coronavirus crisis. Now it warns it will take it back from those who have registered but are not eligible. PM Prayut Chan-o-cha told media yesterday that he has instructed the Finance Ministry to explain to the public who exactly is entitled and how they can protect their right to the finacial aid. Despite an intensive public awareness campaign, the premier said, many ineligible people have registered for the aid.

The PM says authorities will use artificial intelligence to analyse and screen people, to see who meets the criteria set by the Finance Ministry. The money will only be handed over once the information is verified. Those who are ineligible will be removed from the list. If they happen to receive the aid, the money will be taken back, the PM warned.

“Don’t deprive those who are really in trouble of the opportunity to get help. However, the government will come up with additional measures to help those who are not eligible for the 5,000 baht aid.”

The government has rolled out a series of stimulus packages to ease some of the impact of Covid-19 on workers, including more than 100,000 bar workers.

Among the measures is a 50 billion baht government fund that provides 5,000 baht per month for three months to 3 million affected temporary employees and self-employed workers. The remaining “informally employed” population will be left to fend for themselves. The government’s closure of entertainment venues (read: bars and clubs) means over 100,000 workers are out of a job. The government says the relief mea­sures were issued to help companies, especially small and medium sized enterprises.

An army source also announced that more than 40 fake websites, with names similar to the official ones, have been created to lure people into registering, stealing their personal and private information.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

 

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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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