Agencies poised to draw up spending measures

Agencies poised to draw up spending measures

State agencies have been ordered to speed up designing additional measures to stimulate domestic spending.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha ordered responsible state agencies to design fresh measures on Tuesday at the cabinet meeting, citing the 50-50 co-payment scheme as being popular with consumers.

The co-payment scheme allows registered individuals who make purchases at small shops to pay for only half, with the government subsidising 50% of receipts.

The government pays for half of purchases of up to 150 baht per person per day, capped at 3,000 baht per person. The scheme has been rolled out for 10 million participants only.

Registration was launched on Oct 16. The scheme is part of a state plan to offer 30 billion baht in cash handouts to 10 million people to buy goods during the final quarter, scaling back an earlier plan to give 45 billion baht to 15 million people.

The scheme will be applied from Oct 23 to Dec 31.

The aim is to stimulate consumer spending in the final quarter after sentiment has been gutted by the pandemic crisis.

The government reported early this month the co-payment scheme has generated accumulated spending of 7.6 billion baht, with more than 7 million people registered.

Some 523,000 shops, including 70,000 street vendors, and 7.1 million people had registered as of Nov 6. Of the total spending, individuals spent 3.9 billion baht and the government had subsidised 3.74 billion.

Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow said the Center for Economic Situation Administration is scheduled to meet on Nov 18 to consider additional measures to boost the economy. He hinted it is possible the co-payment scheme could be extended.

Mr Supattanapong said the government's stimulus measures could help the economy recover and it is likely the economy may see a contraction at a rate less than the previous forecast.

The government projected the economy would recover to 4-5% growth next year, while the government plans to accelerate both public and private investment to boost the economy next year.

The National Economic and Social Development Council on Aug 17 downgraded the economic outlook for the whole year to a 7.3%-7.8% contraction from an earlier forecast of 5%-6%.

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