Connect with us

Economy

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

Published

 on 

PHOTO: Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana - Thai PBS World

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

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

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.

Follow Thaiger by email:

World9 hours ago

Kanye West’s “White Lives Matter” shirt at Paris Fashion Week

Thailand10 hours ago

Tangmo defendant repays vow with 5-metre Ultraman figure

Bangkok10 hours ago

Bangkok asks companies to let employees work from home until October 7

Thailand11 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Prime minister’s achievements since coming back to the office

Best of11 hours ago

Revealed: the best rooftop bars in the world

Thailand11 hours ago

Father & 2 year old son shot in Chiang Mai

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Pattaya11 hours ago

Officials predict over 100,000 people at Pattaya International Fireworks Festival

Thailand11 hours ago

Six-legged golden frog brings good fortune in northern Thailand

Tourism11 hours ago

British Embassy Bangkok to hold a conference on tourism safety and security

Thailand11 hours ago

Mother seeks justice after a monk slapped her son

Expats12 hours ago

Bangkok ranked one of top 5 expat cities

Thailand12 hours ago

Woman abandons home after police ignore four burglaries

Thailand12 hours ago

VIDEO: Brave citizens save delivery driver swept away by floods in northeast Thailand

Chiang Mai12 hours ago

Chiang Mai wakes up to a flooded city district

World13 hours ago

Japanese warned to take cover over North Korea missile test

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending