Fourth phase of stimulus to seek cabinet nod soon

Fourth phase of stimulus to seek cabinet nod soon

A government officer demonstrates the taste, shop, spend economic stimulus for small and medium enterprises (SMEs.)
A government officer demonstrates the taste, shop, spend economic stimulus for small and medium enterprises (SMEs.)

The Finance Ministry is set to propose a fourth phase of the Taste-Shop-Spend scheme to the cabinet by March as a means to stimulate domestic travel during Songkran.

Supporting domestic tourism and consumption is the main focus of the scheme's fourth phase amid the coronavirus epidemic, said a source familiar with the matter who requested anonymity.

But it remains too early to estimate a budget for the fourth phase, the source said.

There were 14.4 million registrants for the scheme's first three phases, which ran from Sept 27, 2019 to Jan 31, 2020. Of the total, 11.8 million registrants spent a combined 28.8 billion baht, with 11.6 billion baht received via a 1,000-baht cash handout and the rest through a 15-20% cash rebate.

There were 170,000 participating shops nationwide, of which 8% were large merchants.

Some 10 million participants in the first phase and 3 million in the second received a 1,000-baht cash handout, plus a cash rebate of up to 20%. The 1,000-baht cash giveaway was required to be spent through Pao Tang's G-wallet 1.

Under the cashback scheme, recipients got back 15% for spending of up to 30,000 baht at participating merchants. The rebate rose to 20% for more than 30,000 to 50,000 baht spent, with up to 8,500 baht available in cash back.

Don Nakornthab, the Bank of Thailand's senior director for economics and policy, said recently that GDP growth would likely be lower than 2% this year, while first-quarter economic growth could sink below 1% if the country loses 250 billion baht in tourism income as estimated by the Tourism and Sports Ministry.

The National Economic and Social Development Council last week slashed its forecast for 2020 economic growth to 1.5-2.5% from the 2.7%-3.7% range seen in November, while the Bank of Thailand is poised to review its growth estimate of 2.8% in March.

The tourism sector accounted for 11% of the country's GDP last year. Chinese tourists are the country's biggest source of foreign travellers.

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