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Thai PM Prayut quashes 2,000 baht handout package

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Easy come, easy go. Well that was quick. Last Friday’s announcements for 2 x 1000 baht handouts to poorer Thai citizens has been quashed by the PM.

Prime Minister Prayut officially shelved plans to hand out the cash to low income earners. Last Friday the Finance Ministry made the announcement for a new round of stimulus packages to prop up the sagging Thai economy. It’s been flattening out for the past 12 months and now faces additional challenges from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

PM Prayut says the proposed 2,000 baht stimulus package won’t be considered by the Thai cabinet tomorrow… “but other measures were on course for consideration by the ministers” during the weekly cabinet meeting.

Following the PMs announcement, Fiscal Policy Office director Lawan Saengsanit maintained that other measures “would be enough to support the economy over the next three to four months”.

Last Friday the economic ministers gave approval for a new round of 2,000-baht cash handouts for low-income earners, farmers and freelancers.

But the proposal has been roundly criticised on Thai social media with many suggesting the funds would be better spent on combatting the Covid-19 outbreak or handing out more free face masks instead.

And just this morning a poll showed a remarkable 71.2% of respondents flat-out rejected the idea of the new round of handouts as “a misguided priority”.

A new Super Poll survey shows that 71.2% of respondents disagree with the Government’s recently announced plans to hand out two 1,000 baht monthly cash give-aways to low income earners. The new economic stimulus package was announced last week by the finance ministry to help cushion the impact of the sagging economy and threats from the COVID-19 outbreak.

Last Friday’s announcement set out a range of measures to cushion the current financial challenges.

“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 said the package includes cash handouts, soft loans and other financial assistance, as well as tax benefits, to help both entrepreneurs and the public.

 

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