Finance Ministry takes regional approach
Finance officials will tailor measures to the needs of various communities
Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana has instructed the ministry to tailor solutions for each portion of the country to solve poverty and income inequality.
Each part of Thailand has different demands and types of priorities, so different development models should be used, he said during the annual symposium of the Fiscal Policy Office (FPO).
Roads and water sources are greatly needed in some areas but not others, Mr Uttama said, and the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) model is not appropriate for all regions. Agriculture is suitable for the Northeast, while fruit farming fits well in the South.
He also delegated the Finance Ministry, led by the FPO, to set up working groups tasked with scanning for problems and coordinating with related parties to address problems in each area.
The fiscal doctor team, for instance, was established to educate people about basic money management to tackle debt and underground lending.
Moreover, the ministry can use the provincial networks of the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives, the Government Savings Bank, Krungthai Bank and provincial treasuries in executing policies, Mr Uttama said.
The country's chief priority is sustainable economic development, using comprehensive and thorough methods to fix poverty and social disparity.
Changing the country must start from foundations to strengthen the domestic economy and harness innovation in creating high-value products, Mr Uttama said, noting that the traditional model no longer works in supporting the country's growth and Thai products risk losing competitiveness against rivals.
Economic development must encourage local people to improve themselves through the formation of startups to develop products in their areas, he said.
Separately, Mr Uttama said all related parties should jointly consider extending 10 billion baht in loans with a low rate of 0.1% to small and mid-sized SMEs as part of the stimulus package.
The Finance Ministry is mulling whether criteria for state welfare and subsidies for low-income earners will be tweaked after the scheme lapses in November. The FPO has proposed replacing individual income with a family-based model after reports that some welfare smartcard holders were not poor.
According to the most recent criteria, those who are eligible for the welfare and subsidy scheme must be Thai nationals aged 18 or older, be unemployed, have annual income of not more than 100,000 baht and have financial assets of not more than 100,000 baht.
Eligible recipients can own a house measuring up to 25 square wah, or a condo unit spanning up to 35 square metres.