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Source says 3,000 baht handout coming soon, PM says it’s a rumour

Caitlin Ashworth

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Source says 3,000 baht handout coming soon, PM says it’s a rumour | Thaiger
PHOTO: Chiang Rai Times

Thais are getting some extra cash … Well, maybe. Reports say a 3,000 baht cash handout scheme is in the works to help revive the economy after the pandemic, but PM Prayut Chan-o-cha told the press it’s just a rumour, saying the Thai government “does not plan cash handouts of another 3,000 baht to Thais.”

An anonymous source from the Finance Ministry spoke to the Bangkok Post about the supposed 45 billion baht budget scheme he says is planned to help out 15 million Thai nationals. The money would come from an emergency loan credit line allocated for economic recovery.

“This is in line with our objective to stimulate the overall economy.”

An e-wallet smartphone application would allow people to spend up to 100 baht a day at select stores. Those eligible would be able to register through “Pao Tang” smartphone app and the money would then be transferred to a virtual wallet.

The Finance Ministry source says the government plans to subsidise 50% of all spending each day. So if 100 baht was spent, 50 baht would be taken from the customer and the government would pay the other 50 baht.

“We chose this spending approach because we want consumer spending to be distributed to different stores, especially small shops such as noodle shops and grilled pork vendors, instead of large sums being spent once”

While the plan seems to be well thought out, Prayut brushed off the idea during a recent press conference, saying it was another rumour.

“The 3,000 baht cash handout has not been talked about at Cabinet meetings.”

Apparently, the scheme will start next month and run until the end of the year. People must be at least 18 years old to participate. Shops that want to must have already joined in for past government schemes like “Taste, Shop, Spend” and “We Travel Together.” Around 70,000 shops participated in the 2 schemes.

Once the plan is approved by the cabinet, shops will be able to register. The plan is being finalised by the Fiscal Policy Office and will be submitted to the Center for Economic Situation Administration today.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    james

    Saturday, September 12, 2020 at 10:37 pm

    I have been told by a number of Thai people, the 600 baht a month pension received from the government for people over 60 years old has not been paid out recently so it looks like there is a problem with the government’s finances.

  2. Avatar

    Gareth Thomas Relph

    Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 6:48 am

    The 600THB monthly pension can be exchanged for a new Tuk Tuk on a 3 year lease. Seems like a great scheme idea for getting the old folks up and out to earn their pension money. Let’s hope the fuel price stays low enough to facilitate it. Why am I stuck at this traffic light so long now?

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

Economy

2 emergency decrees provide businesses financial help

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2 emergency decrees provide businesses financial help | Thaiger
PHOTO: 2 Decrees aim for financial relief for struggling businesses

Thailand enacted 2 new emergency decrees today aimed at providing assistance to businesses and reducing default interest rates to help people affected by Covid-19. A deputy government spokeswoman confirmed the needed action was critical to protect and aid entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises during the time of pandemic-driven economic crisis.

The goal was to combat unfair interest rates on debt many are suffering, and to provide loans to help keep businesses afloat as the end of the Coronavirus is nowhere in sight.

The Emergency Decree on the Provision of Financial Assistance for Entrepreneurs Affected By the Covid-19 Pandemic allocates 250 billion baht in loans for businesses to recover from the devastating economic effects of the global pandemic. 100 billion baht of this is specifically set aside for those businesses in debt to participate in asset warehousing or debt repurchasing plans.

Asset warehousing allows businesses, like hotels, to essentially store their property in the care of a creditor for a fee until the economy recovers enough to take over the property again and start making money with it again. Debt repurchasing is a process for a business to buy back its own debt with better terms or a lower rate with the purchase price considered a payment to the principal debt not the interest, similar to refinancing a home.

The second of the emergency decrees, an amendment to the Civil and Commercial Code, looks to close loopholes caused by ambiguity in the law that allowed predatory creditors to charge unreasonable interest rates.

If someone missed a loan payment, the original law did not set a default rate, so lenders could charge additional interest. Debtors can now base default rate calculations on the unpaid principal in the updated law. The new decree sets a 3% yearly interest rate and lowers the default rate to 5% a year from the originally 7.5%. The Finance Ministry declared interest rates would be revised every 3 years.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Pattaya

Unemployed elephants walk 500 kilometres from Pattaya to Surin

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Unemployed elephants walk 500 kilometres from Pattaya to Surin | Thaiger
PHOTO: Elephants walking down the road because their car is in the shop.

A group of 5 elephants and their owners began the long walk today from Pattaya to Surin after giving up on the return of tourism anytime soon. The 500 kilometre journey has to be done on foot as they couldn’t afford to hire trucks large enough to carry each elephant.

After waiting a year for the Chinese tourists that make up a majority of their customer base to return, the families decided to embark on the long journey with the 5 elephants to their home in the northeastern province of Surin. As they walk they’re protected on both sides by pickup trucks to keep them safe from cars.

5 years ago Napalai Mai-ngam came with her relatives to work in an elephant resort in Tambon Lam Huay Yai of Bang Lamung near Pattaya with their 5 elephants. They told the Bangkok Post that their earned a good living, about 75,000 baht (15,000 per elephant) plus tips from the tourists to ride elephants on nature trails, each month.

But with the borders closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic the tourists from China who usually flocked to elephant activities, were stuck back in China and Napalai’s boss had to cut their pay. Even with vaccinations finally underway, tourists in numbers, enough to sustain activities like elephant camps, may not be back anytime soon. The families finally had to surrender to the reality and start the long walk home.

They avoid the blistering Thai sun by walking early mornings while the weather was still cool, and hope the roadways out of Pattaya would provide snacking opportunities for the elephants to graze. They expect the journey to take about 2 weeks. The families have turned down offers of cash donations for fear that their long walk will be viewed as a publicity stunt.

That said, the families have expressed gratitude to the locals in towns they pass who have donated drinking water, food and fruit to the entourage of people and elephants. If you would like to donate resources you can contact them on phone number 093 335 7062.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Economy

Southern Thai people turn from tourism to gold panning

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Southern Thai people turn from tourism to gold panning | Thaiger
PHOTO: Traditional panning for gold replaces tourism for income in Southern Thailand

Thars gold in dem hills!

With tourism in Thailand struggling due to Covid-19, and an economy needing some help, some people in the southern Thai region of the country have found income in an unusual source: panning for gold. The Sukhirin region close to the Malaysian border is known for gold deposits in the Sai Buri River and surrounding mountains. Villagers who made money before with tourism have now returned to panning for gold using old-fashioned manual techniques their ancestors used, without the aid of any machinery. Well, just an old pan.

Locals had previously made money selling food to passing tourists or acting as a tour guide to take people around the area, where travellers seeking to get away from the crowded and overdeveloped tourist areas that attract the most foreigners find many unique activities. Kayaking was a popular local activity with up to 150 people a day sailing down the rivers that are now filled with locals panning for gold. The prospectors are now making their income from the gold they collect which sells for 1,500 baht per gram. Families that work together can often collect at least one gram a day.

Thai Gold prices have reached record highs over the last 2 years and many Thai people have traditionally used gold and gold jewellery as a form of savings and investment, pawning their gold rings and bracelets in times of financial emergencies. The gold collected from these Southern villages will be used to make jewellery in Bangkok.

The region had invested in expanding into ecotourism but the pandemic put all their construction plans on hold. A cable car was being built to transport people up to the tops of the mountains to beautiful temples. The area’s unique history attracted people to their annual Rocket Festival, typically a north-eastern celebration.

In 1932, France was granted a 25 year mining contract in the jungles. They extracted almost 2000 kg of gold before World War II forced closure. The mining tunnels still exist and sometimes attracted adventurous tourists, but now sit vacant aside from snakes. In the 1960s the Thai government incentivised northerners with 18 rai of land each to move to the region. As a result, the area stands out in the Muslim region with 90% of the population being Buddhist, and most still speaking Isan dialects.

SOURCE: France 24

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