NESDC okays guideline for B400bn rehabilitation

NESDC okays guideline for B400bn rehabilitation

The state planning unit, the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC), on Monday approved a guideline for the 400 billion baht slated for economic and social rehabilitation under the government's 1.9-trillion-baht relief measure to soften the economic blow from the deadly virus outbreak.

Thosaporn Sirisamphand, the NESDC secretary-general, said the 400 billion baht will be allocated mainly to four groups: future sustainable growth sectors such as smart agriculture, large-scale farming, food processing, bio-economy and tourism, especially domestic tourism; local economic development such as community businesses, One Tambon One Product and community tourism; household and private consumption stimulus; and small-scale infrastructure development.

Of the total budget, 200 billion baht would go to support local economy development, mainly via projects that help local community enterprises upgrade their technology, process their farm products, create long-term jobs in the community and promote the creative economy and community tourism.

Mr Thosaporn said the government is scheduled to offer a subsidy to stimulate domestic tourism, implemented by the Tourism and Sports Ministry.

"Among the four categories, domestic tourism is the most likely sector to reboot the economy in the short term," he said.

Under the subsidy scheme, the government may subsidise Thai visitors' lodging or food expenses. The NESDC and related agencies will work out later the types of subsidies and the rates, said Mr Thosaporn.

Projects on smart agriculture cover farm management information systems, while infrastructure projects should involve development in water and irrigation, transport and logistics, and R&D for the digital platform.

Responsible ministries are required to propose development projects under such guidelines to the NESDC by June 15.

The agency will screen projects and later propose them to the cabinet for approval by July 7.

The projects will be implemented from July and state agencies are required to complete projects within fiscal 2021, or the end of September 2021.

The government last month launched a 1.9-trillion-baht package, marking the biggest relief measure ever, to soften the economic blow.

Of the total, 1 trillion baht is for cash handouts aimed at virus-hit segments and farmers, public healthcare spending and economic and social rehabilitation; 500 billion is for the central bank's soft loan scheme for SMEs, with credit lines of up to 500 million; and 400 billion is for the Corporate Bond Stabilisation Fund.

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said last week agriculture, tourism and state spending will be instrumental in rebooting the economy in the third and fourth quarters.

The government's plan to splash 1 trillion baht, especially 400 billion slated for economic and social rehabilitation through projects aimed at creating jobs, strengthening communities and building infrastructure, will help stimulate the local economy in the third and fourth quarters, said Mr Somkid.

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