Monthly stipend scheme near 100%

Monthly stipend scheme near 100%

240,000 applicants still under review

The scheme offering a monthly stipend of 5,000 baht is 99% complete, leaving only 240,000 appeal applicants under the review process, says a senior official at the Finance Ministry.

Of the 240,000 registrants, 80,000 will be contacted soon by state officials in charge of verifying the appeal applicants' information, while 100,000 cannot meet with the officials and 60,000 are those whom officials tried and failed to get in touch with, said Lavaron Sangsnit, director-general of the Fiscal Policy Office.

The ministry will send an SMS to 160,000 appeal registrants to notify them to contact any branch of Krungthai Bank to authenticate their identity and career, he said. They are required to show their ID cards and evidence of career by May 29.

The allowance is given from April to June to temporary workers, contract employees and self-employed workers who are not covered by the Social Security Fund's Section 33.

There were as many as 28.8 million registrants, but 4.4 million repeat applicants had been removed as of midnight of April 22 when the application period ended. Of the 24 million applicants, 1.7 million were rejected because they failed to complete the registration process.

Of the 22.2 million applicants who passed the ID authentication process, 15 million have already been approved as cash relief recipients, 7 million were denied and 240,000 have been under review.

As of May 20, 14.2 million were already handed the money, 230,000 received the cash on Thursday and the rest will get it today, said Mr Lavaron.

To avoid money transfer problems, he urged recipients to use PromptPay by linking their bank accounts with their ID card number.

Of the 7 million rejected registrants, 4.8 million did not appeal, 1 million failed to pass the review process, 900,000 cancelled their appeal requests, and the rest did not provide requested information.

Mr Lavaron said the Social Development and Human Security Ministry will propose a handout to 13 million vulnerable people to the cabinet for approval next Tuesday. The Finance Ministry will determine those who deserve assistance to prevent duplicate recipients.

The vulnerable group consists of infants, the elderly and disabled.

He said the pandemic did not deal an obvious blow to first-quarter figures as the outbreak started to spiral in March, but it would be apparent in second-quarter tallies.

The economy in the first quarter fell by 1.8%, compared with a rise of 1.5% in the fourth quarter last year. It was the first contraction since early 2014. The contraction prompted the National Economic and Social Development Council to cut its forecast to a contraction of 5-6% this year, down from the 1.5-2.5% growth projection made on Feb 17.

Mr Lavaron hopes the economy will recover in the second half as the government gradually eases the partial lockdown after containing the virus.

However, it is difficult to predict whether the country's economic recovery will be U-shaped. The ministry will do all it can to shore up the economy and prevent companies from collapsing, he said.

Commenting on the private sector's request for shopping tax breaks to boost the flagging economy, Mr Lavaron said the ministry stands ready to launch stimulus measures, but they must be at an appropriate time.

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