Stimulus scheme tipped to pump in B396bn

Stimulus scheme tipped to pump in B396bn

People shop at Trok Mo morning market, also known as Thesa market, in Bangkok on Jan 23, 2022.
People shop at Trok Mo morning market, also known as Thesa market, in Bangkok on Jan 23, 2022.

The four phases of the government's "Khon La Khrueng" co-payment subsidy scheme are expected to inject almost 400 billion baht into the economy, according to Fiscal Policy Office (FPO) director-general Pornchai Thiraveja.

The co-payment scheme, which was launched in 2020, aims to mitigate the impact of the pandemic by reducing people's living costs.

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

More than 26 million individuals and 1.3 million shops have taken part in the scheme, Mr Pornchai said.

The first three phases pumped some 326 billion baht into the economy, he said.

The fourth phase, scheduled to run from Feb 1 to April 30, is expected to generate 69.6 billion baht for the economy, said Mr Pornchai.

Spending totalled around 1.15 billion baht on the first day of the fourth phase, of which 585 million baht was spent by registrants and the rest was contributed by the state subsidy, said the FPO.

Mr Pornchai said the scheme should not be regarded as a cash handout because it passes money to retail business operators such as street vendors, helping them earn income from their products and services.

The Finance Ministry also approved additional cash for state welfare cardholders and those in need of special aid as part of its ongoing relief efforts.

Earlier this week Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow said the Thai economy was likely to start recovering in the first half of this year thanks to the government's better control of Covid-19 infections, the state's economic stimulus measures and accelerated infrastructure development.

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