Government touts stimulus packages

Government touts stimulus packages

A sign for the co-payment shopping scheme at a food court in the Rot Fai Market in Bangkok.
A sign for the co-payment shopping scheme at a food court in the Rot Fai Market in Bangkok.

Three key economic stimulus packages -- the co-payment subsidy scheme, the We Win financial aid programme and the Section 33 We Love Each Other programme -- are estimated to have pumped at least 250 billion baht in monetary circulation as of March 25 this year.

Deputy government spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek said the three schemes are considered very effective not only in helping shore up people's spending power, but also improving the economy as a whole.

Ms Rachada said from the launch of the co-payment scheme last year on Oct 23 until March 25, spending from both the subsidy and out of pocket was a combined 100 billion baht.

Of the total spending, the state subsidy was worth 48.8 billion baht and 51.2 billion was out of pocket.

There are 14.8 million eligible recipients and 1.5 million outlets participating in the scheme.

Under the co-payment subsidy scheme, the government pays for 50% of food, drink and general goods purchases of up to 150 baht per person per day, capped at 3,500 baht per person for a specified duration.

The first phase of the scheme started on Oct 23 and ended on Dec 31.

The government allocated 30 billion baht for the first phase, covering 10 million people, with each receiving a 3,000-baht money transfer.

The second phase, which started on Jan 1 and ends March 31, covers an additional 5 million people, with the subsidies raised to 3,500 baht per person.

Spending through the We Win financial relief scheme tallied 153 billion baht. Approved in January, the We Win scheme aims to provide 210 billion baht in handouts to 32.4 million eligible people over February and March to alleviate hardships caused by the recent outbreak.

The key criteria for those receiving the 7,000-baht handout for two months, with 1,000 baht disbursed per week, consist of a taxable income of no more than 300,000 baht per year, or a monthly income not exceeding 25,000 baht.

Bank deposit accounts must not exceed 500,000 baht.

For the We Love Each Other scheme, which gives eligible recipients a 4,000-baht subsidy via an app, followed by 1,000 baht a week from March 22-April 12, Ms Rachada said the programme has approved 7.4 million eligible recipients, with 1,000 baht per person already transferred on March 22.

Spending is estimated at 750 million baht so far under the scheme, she said.

In a related development, with the second phase of the co-payment scheme about to end this month and 2.9 billion baht still unspent, Kulaya Tantitemit, the Fiscal Policy Office director-general, yesterday urged eligible recipients to exercise their rights and speed up spending.

The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce previously estimated the three stimulus packages would contribute as much as 301 billion baht in spending, with retail and wholesale business, lodging and food services enjoying the greatest benefits.

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