State mulls second phase of handout
Further growth measures in pipeline
The government is considering extending the 1,000-baht cash handout scheme to a second phase this month if economic conditions require continuous stimulus, says Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana.
Mr Uttama's comment echoes a recent remark by Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, who suggested the government's 1,000-baht cash giveaway and 15% cash rebate scheme be extended until the end of the year to boost consumption and year-end tourism.
"We will monitor the scheme for a certain period to consider whether a second phase should be implemented, as well as what type of measure it would be," said Mr Uttama.
The cash handout and cash rebate are part of the government's 316-billion-baht stimulus package, which aims to boost economic growth to at least 3% this year.
The cash handout needs to be spent using the Pao Tang app at participating shops in specified provinces within two weeks, while the 15% rebate can be spent in any province.
Neither perk can be used in the recipients' home province. Recipients must spend from Sept 27 to Nov 30 to take advantage of either perk.
The Fiscal Policy Office (FPO) estimates around 3 million people will use their own money for tourism and spending expenses worth a combined 50 billion baht.
Combined with 10 billion baht from e-money disbursed to 10 million registrants of the 1,000-baht cash handout scheme, total monetary circulation in the economic system is projected at 60 billion baht, said FPO director-general Lavaron Sangsnit.
The amount will help boost Thailand's GDP growth by around 0.2-0.3%, said Mr Lavaron.
This stimulus measure is not meant to solve existing economic problems, he said.
Mr Uttama said the government still has other measures up its sleeves to shore up economic growth, including a subsidy programme for farmers' crop production worth 24 billion baht, and low-interest loans for small and medium-sized enterprises worth 1 billion.
The government will accelerate budget disbursement for fiscal 2020, while state-owned enterprises have been assigned to front-load their projects to rev up the growth impetus, he said.
Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, secretary to the finance minister, said the cash handout scheme is among the stimulus measures aimed at boosting the economy and helping low-income earners and small-scale farmers.
The scheme also aims to support private investment through revving up economic growth in the second half, with the tourism sector as the main driving force, said Mr Thanakorn.
He insisted the scheme is designed to stimulate consumer spending, an important element of the Thai economy, which will benefit all Thais as opposed to certain capitalist groups.