Cash handouts for informal workers

Cash handouts for informal workers

Somkid: Help to begin April 1
Somkid: Help to begin April 1

In a move to ease the suffering of Thailand's 3 million informal workers, the government is set to hand them 5,000 baht per month in cash.

This is part of a 200-billion baht stimulus measure approved by the cabinet yesterday to try and mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak that has infected more than 800 people in the country.

A similar stimulus package was first rolled out by the government on March 10.

The 5,000-baht handout, expected to begin on April 1, is intended for the 3 million or so temporary employees, contract employees and self-employed individuals who aren't covered by the social security system, Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said.

Those eligible to receive the money are advised to register with the Government Savings Bangkok, the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives and Krungthai Bank or online via a website that reads or "Nobody will be left behind" in Thai, he said. The money will be handed out from April to June, he said, adding that the payments will be made either via direct transfers or through electronic wallets, including PromptPay.

If the 5,000-baht cash handout is not enough, the 3 million people will be offered an emergency loan of 10,000 baht per person for which they will only be charged 0.10% interest per month, Mr Somkid added. These loans can be taken for up to two and a half years and no guarantees will be required, he said, adding that up to 40 billion baht will be set aside for this purpose.

Those who can provide a loan guarantee have the option of borrowing up to 50,000 baht per person at 0.35% monthly interest for up to three years, he said. As much as 20 billion baht will be set aside for this scheme, he said.

In another measure, 2 billion baht has been allocated for state-run pawn shops nationwide, where interest rates for loans will be no more than 0.125% per month, he said.

The cabinet has also approved a proposal to defer the filing of income tax and payment deadline for the 2019 fiscal year to Aug 31 from June 30. This will give taxpayers more time to manage their cash flow, Mr Somkid said.

For the 2020 fiscal year, taxes for which will be filed next year, tax deductions for holders of health insurance will cover 25,000 baht of the policy, up from 15,000 baht currently, he said.

Meanwhile, tax in the 2020 fiscal year will be waived for extra money earned by healthcare and medical personnel in compensation for working with Covid-19 patients, he said. In addition, the seven measures approved for businesses affected by Covid-19 yesterday include the postponement of corporate tax payment until Aug 31 next year. This applies to businesses who are required to pay their corporate tax between April 1 and Aug 30 this year.

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