Cabinet okays B16.96bn relief for workers, businesses

Cabinet okays B16.96bn relief for workers, businesses

The cabinet yesterday greenlighted an additional 16.96 billion baht in a relief package for workers and businesses in maximum risk or dark-red provinces affected by the government's latest tougher restrictions to contain the fresh Covid-19 outbreak.

The cabinet also approved an extension of the housing scheme for low-income earners to Dec 31, 2023, from the expiry date of December this year.

Of the total additional budget, government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said 16.1 billion baht will be offered in the second month of support to 194,600 employers and 3.53 million workers in the first 13 maximum risk or dark-red zone provinces registered under Section 33 of the Social Security Act.

The remaining 862.2 million baht will be allocated to workers and businesses in 29 dark-red provinces who are new registrants under the social security system to become eligible to receive these benefits, comprising 18,900 employers and 400,375 workers.

Lockdown has been imposed in Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Pathum Thani and Nakhon Pathom and four southern provinces since July 12.

Chon Buri, Chachoengsao and Ayutthaya were included on July 20.

On Aug 1, the government extended lockdown and curfew measures to an additional 16 provinces categorised as strict control zones, meaning areas hit hardest.

The 16 additional provinces are Kanchanaburi, Samut Songkhram, Suphan Buri, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Ratchaburi, Ang Thong, Nakhon Nayok, Prachin Buri, Lop Buri, Rayong, Sing Buri, Saraburi, Nakhon Ratchasima, Phetchabun and Tak.

Under the additional relief measures with the payout due within this month, workers registered under Section 33 of the Social Security Act will receive 2,500 baht per person, while employers with the number of employees not exceeding 200 will receive 3,000 baht per employee for one month.

Mr Thanakorn said the government has so far approved 34.01 billion baht for workers and businesses affected by the restrictions in 29 dark-red provinces.

On Aug 10, the cabinet approved 17.05 billion baht to help remedy workers and workers inflicted by the restrictions under Section 33 of the Social Security Act.

In a separate development, Rachada Dhanadirek, deputy government spokeswoman, said the cabinet approved extending the housing scheme for low-income earners to Dec 31, 2023, from the expiry date of December this year, and approved an additional 20 billion baht in housing loans to the scheme on top of 50 billion baht.

According to Ms Rachada, the housing project is quite successful and as of July 21, about 52,000 low-income earners have submitted a request to borrow from the state-owned GH Bank worth a combined 39 billion baht.

The cabinet yesterday approved reducing the interest rate of the housing project to 1.99% at a fixed rate for four years from 3% at a fixed rate for five years for applicants who have an income not exceeding 25,000 baht per month.

Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow said the government is scheduled to implement a new package to rehabilitate the economy next month.

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