Protests won't hurt stimulus schemes, says finance chief

Protests won't hurt stimulus schemes, says finance chief

Protesters occupy Kasetsart intersection on Monday in a rally against the government. (Photo by Varuth Hirunyatheb)
Protesters occupy Kasetsart intersection on Monday in a rally against the government. (Photo by Varuth Hirunyatheb)

Ongoing anti-government protests are unlikely to affect the government's spending stimulus measures, says the Finance Ministry.

Krisada Chinavicharana, finance permanent secretary, said despite ongoing protests, people's spending on necessary daily goods continues as usual, while the government's latest spending stimulus measures cover locations across the country, not just specific areas.

The government has introduced two key measures to spur year-end consumers' spending: the co-payment scheme and the Shop and Payback tax rebate scheme. The two schemes run from Oct 23 to Dec 31.

The co-payment scheme offers a million registered people shopping for food, drinks and commodities at small shops a subsidy of 50%, up to 150 baht per day, and no more than 3,000 baht from October to December.

The Shop and Payback scheme allows people to deduct up to 30,000 baht spent on certain goods and services.

The tax rebate scheme, which applies to personal income tax, cannot be claimed by anyone who has already signed up for either of the two existing consumption-boosting programmes: the khon la krueng co-payment subsidy and the 1,500-baht subsidy for holders of state welfare cards.

Buyers must also purchase their items from registered businesses and retain all their receipts. The rebate also excludes certain products and services, including alcohol, tobacco, fuel, flight tickets, travel costs, hotel accommodation, newspapers, magazines and their electronic versions.

Some 3.7 million people are expected to take advantage of the tax rebate programme, while the co-payment scheme, intended for Thais aged 18 and above, will cover 10 million eligible people.

"I believe people are unlikely to pay much attention to the two spending stimulus measures once the economy resumes and they earn enough income," said Mr Krisada.

"The Finance Ministry allowed people to start registering for the co-payment scheme on Oct 16, with up to 5.8 million people able to register to exercise their rights. We believe the number of registered people will be close to the target once the scheme ends."

He said eligible people for the co-payment scheme are required to pay at shops registered with the Finance Ministry, aimed mainly at small-scale shops.

There are almost 3 million shops registered to participate in the scheme, about 50,000 of which are hawkers and street vendors.

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