B400bn necessary for rehabilitation
text size

B400bn necessary for rehabilitation

With exports and tourism likely to slow until early next year because of the coronavirus crisis, Thailand desperately needs to inject 400 billion baht worth of spending slated for economic and social rehabilitation by June, says Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak.

"Overall exports are expected to stay relatively weak, due to the world's economic slowdown and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, while foreign arrivals are unlikely to recover soon, so local economy stimulus should be a focus to resurrect the Thai economy," said Mr Somkid, the government's point man on economic matters.

State agencies such as the National Village and Urban Community Fund Office and ministries have already been instructed to present development projects to stimulate local economies, he said.

Mr Somkid has delegated policy to the National Economic and Social Development Council to help draw up criteria for development projects that are scheduled to be presented to the cabinet this month.

"The guideline is to make sure that all state agencies understand the purpose of the government to implement projects that boost local economies," he said. "Those development projects should align with the sufficiency economy, such as traditional farming development, water supply development in farm areas, infrastructure development in remote areas, projects that promote community tourism and production process upgrades."

The cabinet recently approved a royal decree to borrow 1 trillion baht, of which 600 billion baht will go towards financial aid and health-related plans for those whose jobs and businesses have been upended during the outbreak, with 400 billion baht for economic and social rehabilitation through projects aimed at creating jobs, strengthening communities and building infrastructure.

Of the 600-billion-baht allocation, 550 billion baht is to fund the cash handout for virus-ravaged people, with the remainder for health expenditure.

According to the government's measures, 5,000 baht will be handed out to self-employed workers and farmers, while salaried employees covered by the Social Security Fund will get assistance from the fund.

Some of the fiscal 2020 budget will be reallocated to healthcare, on top of the 45-billion-baht budget under the executive decree on borrowing, as public health is deemed more important than the economy during the crisis.

The government is handing out 5,000 baht a month to those affected by the virus between April to June.

Measures to rehabilitate the economy, especially at the grassroots level, are scheduled to be implemented from May to September.

The government is also revising the fiscal 2021 budget to allocate more funds to finance economic rehabilitation.

The economy is unlikely to slow too much next year if the government succeeds in creating jobs and a multiplier effect through stimulus measures this year, Mr Somkid said.

Do you like the content of this article?