Call for more stimulus to help economy

Call for more stimulus to help economy

FTI says businesses are still recovering

Giant Pikachus adorn the plaza outside CentralWorld mall in Bangkok. The state e-refund scheme, which is slated to start early next year, can increase shopping, but an industry trade group wants more measures to stimulate the economy. Varuth Hirunyatheb
Giant Pikachus adorn the plaza outside CentralWorld mall in Bangkok. The state e-refund scheme, which is slated to start early next year, can increase shopping, but an industry trade group wants more measures to stimulate the economy. Varuth Hirunyatheb

Thailand needs new government measures to stimulate the economy next year, easing the impact from the delay in budget allocation for fiscal 2024, says the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).

Fiscal 2024 started on Oct 1, 2023, but the Srettha Thavisin administration has yet to finalise its budget plan for the new fiscal year, in part because of a lengthy process to form a coalition government following the general election in May.

The allocation of a new budget, which is crucial for government spending to support state projects, is expected between April and May next year.

"We need more measures to boost the economy, which has not fully recovered and can be affected by the impact of geopolitical conflicts," said Kriengkrai Thiennukul, chairman of the FTI.

He said he wants the government to launch stronger measures that can increase people's purchasing power and build confidence among business owners.

The federation approves of the state e-refund scheme, which is scheduled to be implemented from Jan 1 to Feb 15 next year. The scheme, which is similar to the "Shop Dee Mee Khuen" scheme, is a shopping tax incentive where individuals can request a tax refund after spending a certain amount of money.

People check out travel deals at the recent Thai Tiew Thai travel fair at Bitec. The Federation of Thai Industries wants the government to launch stronger measures that can increase people's purchasing power and build confidence among business owners. Varuth Hirunyatheb

"The e-refund scheme can boost the economy in the short term, but Thailand needs more measures to improve and support its economy, which faces several challenges," said Mr Kriengkrai.

Thais are struggling with household and informal debt, he said. Potential solutions recently launched by the government will take time to ease the problem, said Mr Kriengkrai.

The energy price measures, which cover power bills, diesel and gasoline, expire at the end of this month or in January next year, so new methods are needed to curb the high cost of living, he said.

"We are worried global energy prices may fluctuate next year because of the impact of geopolitical conflicts," said Mr Kriengkrai.

A joint committee, consisting of representatives from the state and private sector, should be set up to work on a proposal to adjust the national energy price structure, he said.

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