Uttama upbeat about stimulus package

Uttama upbeat about stimulus package

Mr Uttama, centre, promotes the cash giveaway and rebate at the Finance Ministry. Apichit Jinakul
Mr Uttama, centre, promotes the cash giveaway and rebate at the Finance Ministry. Apichit Jinakul

The 1,000-baht cash giveaway, 15% cash rebate and low-rate loan scheme stimulus measures are expected to pump at least 200 billion baht into the economic system, says Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana.

The stimulus package is aimed at cushioning against the impacts of global economic volatility, he said.

In August, the government unveiled the 316-billion-baht stimulus package, hoping to increase the country's economic growth to at least 3% this year after posting only 2.3% growth year-on-year in the second quarter and 2.8% in the first.

The second-quarter figures marked the slowest pace of GDP expansion since the third quarter of 2014. For the first half of the year, the economy grew by 2.6% year-on-year.

The Finance Ministry has prepared a budget of 19-20 billion baht to fund the 1,000-baht giveaway for travel to tourist destinations outside of home provinces, and a 15% cash rebate of up to 30,000 baht on tourism-related spending.

Mr Uttama said the ministry is considering extending the registration period for merchants to participate in the 1,000-baht cash handout and the cash rebate schemes, which are scheduled to close on Sept 20. Some 55,000 shops already signed up for the schemes.

To be eligible for the cash handout and rebate, Thais aged 18 and up are required to sign up at the Tourism Authority of Thailand's website and for the Pao Tang mobile app from Krungthai Bank during Sept 23-Nov 22 to receive 1,000 baht. The rebate will be paid out by the government later. Registrants will receive an SMS to confirm their privileges within three business days.

The cash handout needs to be spent at participating shops in specified provinces, while the 15% rebate can be spent in any province. Neither perk can be used in a buyer's home province.

Suttirat Rattanachot, director-general of the Comptroller-General's Department, estimated more than 60,000 shops will sign up for the schemes before registration closes. Modern trade operators can join the schemes, but recipients can only spend at one branch if they have only one tax identification number, she said. For instance Big C Supercenter has only one tax ID and can select only one branch.

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