Uttama seeks two economic panels

Uttama seeks two economic panels

Committees to cover stability, policies

Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana is set to push for the formation of two committees tasked with handling economic stability and government policies to drive the economy.

The committees, made up of related agencies to exchange information, will be set up early next year, he said.

The committee on state policies will take responsibility for considering which fiscal and monetary policies are appropriate to drive government policies, including improving the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and technology investment, Mr Uttama said.

Regarding an assistance package for SMEs, he said the ministry has coordinated with the Bank of Thailand and commercial banks and such measures will go before the cabinet in early 2020.

The ministry is poised to propose to the cabinet an assistance package for SMEs and credit card holders early next year as part of efforts to keep a lid on bad loans and ease the liquidity squeeze.

Measures for SMEs will be both preventive and corrective to help ailing SMEs survive and prevent those in a sound position from falling into trouble.

Mr Uttama referred to the prime minister's instruction that the Finance Ministry, the Bank of Thailand and the National Economic and Social Development Council must jointly work to address problems created by the stronger baht.

The currency must be discussed with the central bank, he said, as it is their remit and other agencies are unable to step in.

Commenting on tax reforms, Mr Uttama said finance permanent secretary Prasong Poontaneat just reported to him about the study of the first phase of the tax revamp.

Tax reforms are aimed at making the tax system fairer, supporting the country's development, reducing income inequality and raising collection efficiency by adopting digital technology.

Mr Uttama reiterated that family income will be among the criteria for a new round of registration for state welfare and subsidies for the underprivileged. Registration is set to open in January.

Based on the new criteria, average annual income for the family cannot exceed 100,000 baht per person.

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