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Thai PM Prayut quashes 2,000 baht handout package

The Thaiger

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Thai PM Prayut quashes 2,000 baht handout package | The Thaiger
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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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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

1.9 trillion baht stimulus aims to relieve Covid-19 impacts on Thai business

Anukul

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1.9 trillion baht stimulus aims to relieve Covid-19 impacts on Thai business | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: posttoday.com

Today, on the weekly meeting with the Thai Cabinet, it was concluded and approved that the third phase of the economic stimulus will commence as of today. The stimulus is valued at 1.9 trillion baht and is aimed to relieve some of the impacts of the Covid-19 outbreak.

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha revealed that the third phase of economic stimulus measures consists of three emergency decrees…

  • The first decree will transfer 80 billion baht to 100 billion baht to the central budget to use as stimulus funds.
  • The second will permit the Bank of Thailand to use up 900 billion baht for moves to boost the economy.
  • The third decree allows the Finance Ministry to borrow up to 1 trillion baht, of which 600 billion baht will be used for cash handouts and public health and 400 billion baht will be spent on economic recovery measures (in addition, there will be another 80 billion baht to 100 billion baht available after rearranging the budgets of government authorities).

Meanwhile, the Bank of Thailand will allocate 500 billion baht in soft loans at 2% interest rates to aid the economy, especially to small and medium enterprises, with credit lines of up to 500 million baht. In addition, the BOT will instruct commercial banks and government financial institutions to allow SMEs with loans not exceeding 100 million baht to postpone principal debt and interest payment for 6 months.

Government spokesperson Narumon Pinyosinwat says “the Cabinet has also approved the Finance Ministry’s draft regulations to disregard import duty for materials that can be used to cure, diagnose or prevent the Covid-19 virus.”

The waiver has been in effect since March 26 and will be valid until September 30.

SOURCE: The Nation / The Nation

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thai banks report they can handle the impacts of the virus

Anukul

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Thai banks report they can handle the impacts of the virus | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Bloomberg.com

As the Covid-19 coronavirus continues to spread in Thailand, authorities have temporarily shut off shopping malls, entertainment and sporting venues while allowing food stalls and restaurants to open, but only for take-out and delivery services. The measures have led to social disruption, unemployment, leave without pay and salary cuts.

However, a senior official at the Bank of Thailand reports, “Thailand’s banking sector is strong enough to defend against a potential upsurge in bad debt as well as debt restructuring cases stemming from the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak and official measures to contain the spread.”

Senior director for the economic and policy department Don Nakornthab says that banks have a sufficient capital buffer in the event of higher past-due payments and debt restructuring. Unlike the 1997 Tom Yum Kung (Asian financial crisis in Thailand) crisis, the banking system’s financial position is much more solid now.”

“At the end of 2019, the banking system’s capital funds totalled to 2.85 trillion baht, with a capital adequacy ratio of 19.6% and loan-loss provision of 701.2 billion baht, according to central bank data.”

“The non-performing loan coverage ratio was stable at 149.9% at the end of last year, and the liquidity coverage ratio remained high at 187.5%.”

“The banking system delivered a 30.8% rise in net profit to 270.9 billion baht in 2019.”

Siam Commercial Bank ‘s co-president Apiphan Charoenanusorn says that more than 100,000 clients with over 150 billion baht worth of total loans have requested financial aid to ease their burden after the bank launched the scheme in February.

Last week The central bank has set guidelines for the minimum assistance that financial institutions must offer to debtors to ease their financial burden amid the pandemic, which is effective from April 1st. All lenders, comprising commercial banks, specialised financial institutions, and non-bank and leasing companies, are required to comply with the guidelines covering 6 types of loan product…

  • Credit cards
  • Personal and car title loans
  • Auto and motorcycle loans
  • Machinery leasing
  • mortgages
  • SME – Nanofinance and Microfinance loans

Krungthai Bank data shows that the bank has already provided financial aid to 1,500 customers with combined loans of 30 billion baht, while another 70,000 clients with total loans of 250 billion baht are in the process.

The strongest demand for debt restructuring is seen in the bank’s mortgage and personal loans.

At the state-owned Government Savings Bank, President and chief executive, Chatchai Payuhanaveechai says that the GSB has offered a three-month grace period on principal and interest for all debtors who still service debt and miss payment for less than three months as of the end of March.

“The scheme, will run until June 30 and is automatically applied to qualified debtors without any registration requirement, adding that those who do not want to participate in the scheme can honor their debt as usual.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thai government screws sex workers over 5,000 baht stimulus

Greeley Pulitzer

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Thai government screws sex workers over 5,000 baht stimulus | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Pattaya One

Thousands of Thai sex workers, estimated to be around 300,000, mostly out of work due to the Covid-19 coronavirus crisis, will receive no labour protection from the government. Empower Foundation, an organisation for the rights and opportunities for sex workers across Thailand, has sent a letter to the government pleading for help.

“Many are mothers and main family providers and carers. Due to Covid-19 the government has ordered closures of entertainment places which means that over 100,000 sex worker across Thailand are out of a job. In emergencies women are often the ones who do the work of caring for others. Yet this work is not recognised, nor compensated or supported.”

“For example, even though entertainment places are reported to earn around 6.4 billion dollars per year and sex workers create 4-10% of the GDP. Sex workers are criminalized and left out of labour protection and social security. The closure order affects sex workers who now have no income at all. Sex workers are ready to help society, but also still must pay their rent, live and care for their family.”

The organisation is yet to receive a response from the government, and it’s estimated the number of sex workers without a job across the country has now reached 300,000.

Mai Janta, a community representative of sex workers in Chiang Mai working at Empower Foundation, told reporters that they were the first to be affected when the government declared all entertainment venues closed.

“When the massage parlours, bathing venues, bars and karaoke closed we all agreed with and supported the government’s measures. Yet our kind of work means that we have zero chance of any income during this time. Also the government has shown no interest in helping at all. Now we can only follow the situation and check in on the women we know of, which is our 3,091 members across Chiang Mai.

“This government has focused on arresting and enforcing, never supporting. The labour law has never protected these women even though we contribute greatly to the economy. There are some women who are under the social security scheme; those working for larger businesses who have proper working hours such as beer girls, karaoke girls and such. But freelancers and women working in bars are often left out in the cold,” according to Chiang Mai City News.

“The government’s 5000 baht compensation, which is still not available and may not be for months, only applies to a few women, as most are migrant workers or tribal people with no Thai ID.”

“These are the most vulnerable of all. They have nowhere to go and no resources at all. What we want is the nearly 500 million baht the government seized a few years ago from the human trafficking owners of Victoria Secret and Natalie massage parlors.”

SOURCES: Chiang Rai Times | Chiang Mai Citynews

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