Finance Ministry to unveil new aid package

Finance Ministry to unveil new aid package

Measures aimed at consumers, tourism

Uttama: Jump-start growth momentum
Uttama: Jump-start growth momentum

The Finance Ministry is set to roll out a fresh stimulus package this quarter large enough to jump-start economic growth momentum, says Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana.

The prospective measures will help bolster consumer confidence, the tourism sector and business operators, he said.

The package will focus on giving money to consumers by lowering financial burdens, preventing employees from losing jobs and providing skills training to employees in tourism-related sectors, Mr Uttama said without providing in-depth details.

The domestic economy has been battered by a slew of negative factors, including the coronavirus outbreak, the delayed annual budget for fiscal 2020, drought conditions and the lingering trade war. The tourism sector, making up 11.1% of GDP and one of the few bright spots in recent years, has been walloped by the deadly virus epidemic.

The scene has prompted many research houses to slash their economic forecasts, with some putting Thailand's GDP growth below 2% this year.

GSB Research recently predicted that Thailand could lose 170 billion baht in tourism income, shaving one percentage point off the country's 2020 GDP growth, if the virus outbreak takes six months to contain.

Don Nakornthab, the central bank's senior director for economics and policy, last week said economic growth under 2% was likely for this year, while first-quarter economic growth could sink below 1% in the event that the country loses 250 billion baht in tourism income as estimated by the Tourism and Sports Ministry.

Mr Uttama expects about 100 billion baht worth of state investment budget to be doled out by May after the Senate passed the 2020 budget bill, creating another driver for the economy in the period ahead.

The government aims to sustain the country's economic growth at its potential in the long run and foster inclusive growth, he said.

Regarding a meeting with the EU-Asean Business Council in which 56 executives of 30 foreign companies operating in Thailand took part, Mr Uttama said the most frequently asked questions concerned government policy, the electric vehicle roadmap and the circular economy.

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