Latest stimulus essential for growth, says UTCC
The recently approved 316-billion-baht stimulus package is deemed vital to boosting the country's economic growth, if it can be implemented quickly, according to a survey by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC).
Thanavath Phonvichai, vice-president for research at the UTCC, said the plan has to be implemented as fast as possible to have a concrete impact on the overall economy.
The university predicted the Thai economy could expand by 2.8-3% this year if only 47.7-61.0 billion baht and 103-122 billion are spent in the third and fourth quarters, respectively.
Economic growth could expand by only 2.6% if such spending failed and more negative factors such as an escalating trade war occur, he said.
In the best-case scenario, economic growth could reach 3-3.4% this year if spending under the package is active at 150-183 billion baht in the third and fourth quarters, and the government introduces the income guarantee scheme for farmers, as well as extends until next April a measure that waives fees for visas on arrival issued to tourists from 19 countries.
Mr Thanavath said the extension of visa fee waivers is expected to help push the number of foreign arrivals to 39.5 million this year.
However, he noted the prediction was made with the baht at 30.7-30.8 to the US dollar and the impact of the new trade row between the US and China deemed moderate.
The UTCC is maintaining its forecast for exports this year at flat to a contraction of 1%.
The cabinet on Tuesday gave the nod to a 316-billion-baht stimulus package, hoping to improve the country's economic growth by 0.5-0.6 percentage points this year.
The stimulus package includes additional allowances of 500 baht per month to low-income earners and the elderly in the state's smartcard scheme, an additional allowance of 300 baht per month for childcare, offering 10 million Thai travellers 1,000 baht in spending money, and a 15% cash rebate of up to 30,000 baht on tourism spending.
The scheme also offers additional funding and loans to help Thai small and medium-sized enterprises as well as subsidies to farmers.
As part of the stimulus package, the cabinet also agreed to extend until next April a measure that waives fees for visas on arrival issued to tourists from 19 countries. A waiver for 21 countries is due to expire on Oct 31.
The cabinet rejected a contentious proposal to allow visa-free entry for visitors from China and India, citing security concerns.
- thai economy