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Help is on the way: 100 billion baht stimulus package passed

Jack Burton

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Help is on the way: 100 billion baht stimulus package passed | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana - Thai PBS World
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Eyeing the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on the nation’s already battered economy, the government yesterday approved a stimulus package, anticipated to cost more than 100 billion baht.

The package was approved in a meeting of the Council of Economic Ministers, led by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, and will be forwarded to the cabinet for approval on Tuesday.

After the meeting, Prayut said the package, lasting two months, will be “temporary assistance.” It includes a wide range of measures such as financial aid for small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), tax benefits and other financial policies.

The massive package comes as Thailand’s economy, already in the doldrums for several years due to weakening exports, low investment and more recently, the strengthening baht, is slumping further. The coronavirus outbreak is rubbing salt in the wound, directly hitting the tourism sector, long considered the only lifeline for the beleaguered economy.

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak admits that the virus has dealt a severe blow to tourism as well as the manufacturing and services sectors.

“The Bank of Thailand has been working with other relevant agencies to roll out the first set of measures to different groups. It is particularly important to help SMEs to prevent further impacts on workers. This is the first set of measures, and there will be more later.”

Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana says the package includes cash handouts, soft loans and other financial assistance, as well as tax benefits, to help both entrepreneurs and the public.

“It’s a temporary, broad-based package to help various sectors.”

For businesses, the package provides soft loans at a 2% interest rate, a debt moratorium and delayed debt repayment, debt restructuring for non-performing loans, lower utility expenses and other costs.

To expedite soft loans, the Government Savings Bank will lend funds to commercial banks at 0.01%, so commercial banks can give loans at 2%.

In addition to this, the package will cover a 2,000-baht handout to low-income earners, farmers and freelance workers at 1,000 baht over two consecutive months.

Bank of Thailand governor, Veerathai Santiprabhob, says the central bank has issued a memo calling on commercial banks to ease debt restructuring criteria under the relief package. The central bank has also called on commercial banks to lower the minimum payment limit for credit card holders to 5% from the 10% ceiling.

Kobsak Pootrakool, secretary to the economic cabinet, says the ministers are also prepared to roll out measures to help airlines and retailers who rent airport space.

He says ministers estimate that the effect of the coronavirus outbreak will last for another six months, and an additional three months will be needed to restore public confidence.

He adds that the economy’s performance in the first quarter will not be positive, as the outbreak has alread slashed the number of foreign arrivals by 50%.

Economic growth stood at 2.4% last year, the weakest in five years, and growth this year is likely to be much lower. Kasikorn Research Centre predicts GDP expansion of just 0.5% mainly because of the outbreak.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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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.

Economy

Thailand’s rich not eligible for 3,500 baht government handout

Maya Taylor

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Thailand’s rich not eligible for 3,500 baht government handout | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Chiang Rai Times

Thailand’s Finance Ministry has confirmed that wealthy citizens are not eligible for the government’s monthly cash handout of 3,500 baht. The Rao Chana (“We Win”) scheme consists of 2 monthly payments of 3,500 baht for those struggling with the financial fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic. Those with savings above a certain, unspecified threshold, will not qualify.

The ministry has not specified what this figure might be, in a bid to stop people transferring funds out of their accounts in order to fall below the required threshold. The Rao Chana scheme is aimed at farmers and the self-employed and is similar to the previous Rao Mai Thing Kan (“We Won’t Leave Anyone Behind”) scheme. That scheme consisted of 3 monthly payments of 5,000 baht and also excluded those with savings above a certain amount.

“The government spent 390 billion baht (on Rao Mai Thing Kan), but people still protested in front of the ministry after their applications to receive 5,000 baht remedial payments were rejected. A government official found that 1 protester had more than 10 million baht in his account, which is why he was not eligible.”

Kulaya Tantitemit from the Fiscal Policy Office, says screening under the new scheme will also reject government officials, employees in state enterprises, and people already in the social security net. The eligibility criteria are expected to be submitted for Cabinet approval soon, with registration for the scheme opening at the end of January and first payments made in early February.

“We want to help low-income people affected by Covid-19, so those outside the social security system such as freelancers or farmers will be eligible. But anyone with a high income will be disqualified.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Thailand

PM announces the distribution of 3,500 baht to help during Covid outbreak

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PM announces the distribution of 3,500 baht to help during Covid outbreak | The Thaiger
PM Prayut Chan-o-cha

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha announces the 3,500 Baht distribution to help people financially affected during this second major outbreak of Covid-19, including informal workers, freelancers, and the unemployed. At the same time, the government will also help reduce the cost of living expenses of all households nationwide including electricity and water bills in February and March. Special internet packages will also be provided to support people who need to work from home.

The 3,500 Baht distribution is part of the government’s urgent relief measures called “Rao Chana” project or “We Win” in Thai language. The money is planned to be distributed to the registered applicants by the end of January and early February. But the exact date for signing up for the project is not released yet, perhaps next week.

The electricity bill reductions will be applied to every household across the country for 2 months, February and March, with the first 90 units spent free of charge. The water bills for all households and small businesses will also be reduced by 10% of the total charges in the February and March invoices.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News| Post Today

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Tourism

Thailand ranks 4th in the world for highest loss of tourism revenue – Official ESTA

The Thaiger

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Thailand ranks 4th in the world for highest loss of tourism revenue – Official ESTA | The Thaiger

The following article was submitted by a public relations company representing Official ESTA, a visa application and assistance processing firm.

Thailand has one of the highest loss of tourism revenue in the world with a loss of $37,504 million USD. The country ranks fourth on a list complied by the company Official ESTA intended to show the financial impact the Covid-19 pandemic had on the global tourism industry.

  • As the country with the most reported Covid-19 cases, the United States has suffered the biggest drop in tourism revenue with a total loss of $147,245 million
  • With the country seeing less than 20 million foreign visitors in 2020, Spain has the second largest revenue loss of $46,707m
  • France is the world’s most visited country with over 89 million tourists each year, but the impact of COVID-19 has resulted in a total revenue loss of $42,036m
  • The Caribbean islands make up 50% of those who have suffered the highest percentage loss in GDP, with Aruba, Turks and Caicos Islands, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Lucia and Grenada all ranking in the list of the top 10 worst affected

Official ESTA has looked into the biggest revenue loss and the highest percentage of GDP lost per country to reveal which countries have been financially impacted the most by the loss of tourism caused by Covid-19. You can view the full findings here.

Travel and tourism is one of the main industries to be gravely affected by Covid-19, leaving many countries with no choice but to close their borders to tourists for months due to the global pandemic outbreak. As a result of these travel bans, huge numbers of flights and holidays were cancelled throughout 2020, leaving world tourism at an all time low.

In 2019, global travel and tourism contributed $8.9 trillion to the world’s GDP, but due to the pandemic the financial impact of Covid-19 on world tourism resulted in a total revenue loss of $935 billion worldwide in the first ten months of 2020.

So which countries have been affected the most by Covid-19?

The countries with the biggest tourism revenue loss due to Covid-19:

RankCountryRevenue loss
1United States$147,245 million USD
2Spain$46,707 million USD
3France$42,036 million USD
4Thailand$37,504 million USD
5Germany$34,641 million USD
6Italy$29,664 million USD
7United Kingdom$27,889 million USD
8Australia$27,206 million USD
9Japan$26,027 million USD
10Hong Kong$24,069 million USD

 

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