Ministry unwraps stimulus presents

Ministry unwraps stimulus presents

Packages aimed at stimulating spending amid pandemic

A customer walks past New Year gift baskets at Siam Paragon on Thursday. Mr Arkhom is upbeat as the consumer confidence index continues to improve.
A customer walks past New Year gift baskets at Siam Paragon on Thursday. Mr Arkhom is upbeat as the consumer confidence index continues to improve.

The Finance Ministry plans to introduce new stimulus packages early next year as a New Year's gift to Thais, aiming to boost spending of people with high purchasing power amid the prolonged pandemic, says Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith.

He said the ministry was considering which stimulus packages to promote at the cabinet meeting on Dec 21.

The packages are aimed at stimulating spending, especially among those who are eager to spend, Mr Arkhom said.

He said one main package would focus on offering a tax deduction to those with purchasing power. It will replace the existing "Ying Chai Ying Dai" (the more you spend, the more you get) stimulus scheme, which was not popular among the public.

The Ying Chai Ying Dai scheme provides users with cashback e-vouchers for domestic purchases, encouraging buying of food, products and services at participating shops through the Krungthai Bank Pao Tang mobile app.

The minister said whether phase 4 of the "Khon La Khrueng" co-payment scheme will be launched after phase 3 expires at the end of this year depends on domestic spending.

The scheme sees the government subsidising 50% of food, drink and general goods purchases. The total subsidy is limited to 150 baht per person per day.

Mr Arkhom said the consumer confidence index has continued to improve.

Consumer confidence rose for the third straight month in November, driven by an easing of Covid-19 restrictions, robust export growth and the country's reopening, according to the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC).

The UTCC reported on Thursday its consumer confidence index rose to 44.9 in November from 43.9 in October, 41.4 in September and 39.6 in August, which was the lowest level in almost 23 years.

Regarding the Omicron variant, Mr Arkhom said he is confident it will not affect New Year activities.

The government has kept a close watch on this variant and continues to implement public health measures, he said.

Recently Mr Arkhom said the government stands ready to inject around 1 trillion baht into the economy next year to cushion against volatility caused by the Omicron variant.

About 600 billion baht will be drawn from state investment funds for fiscal 2022, while roughly 300 billion will be taken out of state enterprises' investment funds, he said.

The government has another 250 billion baht left from the 500 billion it borrowed using the second emergency loan decree to mitigate the pandemic's impact on the economy.

The ministry forecast the economy will expand by 1% this year and 4% next year, driven by increasing foreign tourist arrivals, in turn enabled by the gradual decline in Covid-19 cases and the country's reopening.

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