B19.5bn funding agreed for low-earning graduates

B19.5bn funding agreed for low-earning graduates

The cabinet yesterday approved 19.46 billion baht in funding for an employment subsidy programme targeting 260,000 new graduates from universities and vocational institutes.

The scheme commits the government to paying 50% of the graduates' salaries, said Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin after yesterday's cabinet meeting.

The programme will last one year, starting next month, he said.

The budget for the programme will come from the 400 billion baht set aside to help the economy recover from its Covid-19 battering and is a part of the Finance Ministry's remit to borrow money to finance Covid-19 economic rehabilitation programmes, said Mr Suchart.

The National Economic and Social Development Council will be responsible for screening projects financed by the programme. It covers three groups of new graduates; those with a bachelor's degree, those with high vocational certificates and those with vocational certificates.

The subsidy is being offered to employers who hire university graduates with monthly salaries of up to 15,000 baht, high vocational graduates being paid a maximum 11,500 baht per month and vocational graduates receiving up to 9,400 baht per month.

Employers eligible for the subsidy must not have laid off more than 15% of their staff in the past year. Eligible graduates must be Thai nationals, 25 years old or younger and must have completed their studies in 2019 or 2020.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said the cabinet had approved in principle a 51-billion-baht scheme to raise monthly allowances for holders of state welfare card holders.

Those currently receiving 1,500 baht per month will receive an extra 500 baht a month for three months and a 50% spending subsidy which is hoped will stimulate domestic consumption.

For the consumption stimulus, the government plans to pay 10 million state welfare card holders up to 3,000 baht to finance their purchases of food and consumer products from small shops and street vendors over a period of three months, according to the Centre for Economic Situation Administration (CESA).

The subsidy will be transferred to over 100,000 shops and street vendors around the country, said the CESA.

The cabinet also agreed to extend its electricity and water bills subsidy for state welfare holders for another year, until September 2021, said a government spokeswoman.

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