Cabinet extends low-income aid

Cabinet extends low-income aid

3 more months for existing measures

An attendant refuels a motorbike at a petrol station. Reducing gasohol costs by 250 baht per month for 157,000 registered motorcycle drivers is one measure to alleviate hardships for low-income earners. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
An attendant refuels a motorbike at a petrol station. Reducing gasohol costs by 250 baht per month for 157,000 registered motorcycle drivers is one measure to alleviate hardships for low-income earners. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

The cabinet on Tuesday approved extending the existing measures for three months devised to alleviate the hardship of low-income earners from the surge in oil prices.

The measures were scheduled to expire at the end of this month.

According to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, the government needs to extend the aid measures to low-income earners because energy prices remain relatively high, attributed to the war in Ukraine and some countries curbing exports of commodities.

He said the government is also worried about a sharp rise in global oil prices, which will raise production costs in the manufacturing sector. This may cause more risks for the country's economic recovery, said Gen Prayut.

"The government has been keeping a close watch on energy prices because the conflict in Ukraine is likely to continue for a long time," he said.

The Thai cabinet approved the 10 measures in March to help the public cope with the rising prices of goods, services and energy.

The measures include providing one 100-baht discount per month to 5,500 vendors and hawkers who hold state welfare cards; reducing gasohol costs by 250 baht per month for 157,000 motorcycle drivers registered with the Department of Land Transport; and maintaining the retail price of natural gas for vehicles at 15.59 baht per kilogramme.

Other measures include helping metered taxi drivers under the "Lom Hai Jai Diow Gun" (Breathe Together) project to buy natural gas for 13.62 baht per kg, and freezing the retail price of diesel at 35 baht per litre until the end of September.

The cabinet also approved on Tuesday new tax incentives proposed by the Finance Ministry to attract companies to organise seminars in the provinces, part of an effort to increase domestic tourism.

Perks include a two-time corporate tax deduction for companies holding seminars in second-tier tourism provinces and a 1.5-time corporate tax deduction for those organising seminars in key tourism provinces.

Companies that organise exhibitions and trade fairs in the provinces are also eligible for the two-time corporate tax deduction perks.

The measures take effect from July 15 to Dec 31, with the government projected to lose 300-500 million baht worth of revenue from the tax breaks.

The cabinet also agreed in principle to ask for the cooperation of oil refineries to channel their profits into the state Oil Fuel Fund for three months, from July to September, to help control fuel prices.

The cabinet also approved the extension of the "We Travel Together" hotel subsidy scheme, which features 1.5 million room nights until October from the expiry date of May 31, in order to boost the tourism sector.

The scheme was launched in July 2020 to stimulate local tourism, which was clobbered by the first wave of the pandemic.

Participants in the scheme paid 60% of normal hotel room rates, with the government responsible for the balance.

Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn said earlier the We Travel Together campaign would be funded by 4 billion baht remaining from the budget of previous phases.



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