State readies B170bn for trio of aid packages

State readies B170bn for trio of aid packages

The government is preparing to spend 170 billion baht in the fourth quarter carrying out three relief packages to stimulate spending and bolster employment to curtail the impact of the pandemic.

Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow said the process will take about two years to return the economy back to normal pre-outbreak levels.

The state plans to continue to help ailing individuals and businesses until 2023, when domestic growth resumes at pre-Covid rates, Mr Supattanapong said yesterday.

The three packages, to be launched during October and November, will be financed by a 170-billion-baht budget, part of the 400-billion-baht social and economic rehabilitation scheme.

Up to 100 billion baht will be used for job creation and new training in the agricultural sector, helping people who lost jobs during the lockdown period.

These people, mostly workers in big cities, have decided to return home upcountry and need to be trained on how to farm, Mr Supattanapong said.

"We expect there to be 400,000 people receiving help from this package," he said.

Another 20 billion baht will be spent on hiring new graduates for up to one year. Up to 1 million jobs will be offered during a three-day job fair that starts tomorrow.

The remaining 50 billion baht is set aside for helping low-income people and small retailers. This package includes a 50/50 co-payment scheme. People who apply for the aid will be encouraged to spend money under the 3,000-baht cash handout, for which the government subsidises 50% of purchases, up to 50 baht per day, for individual customers spending 100 baht.

Mr Supattanapong said all three packages are crucial to drive the economy, helping offset the loss of 2 trillion baht in revenue generated by foreign tourists.

The government has spent 900 billion baht restoring the economy since the outbreak earlier this year through various measures, including a monthly 5,000-baht handout for three months and discounts on power and water bills.

Mr Supattanapong said next year the government will launch measures to draw foreign investors looking for new locations for their factories, following the impact of lockdown measures in other newly coronavirus-hit countries.

Officials are considering granting them residential visas, he said.

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