B3,000 freebie for 10 million

B3,000 freebie for 10 million

Co-payment scheme for the last quarter

The cabinet on Tuesday approved a scheme to make a co-payment of a maximum 3,000 baht per person for 10 million consumers over a three-month period.

The co-payment scheme, which is scheduled to be implemented from Oct 23 until Dec 31, is intended for Thai citizens aged 18 and above.

They need to sign up for the scheme from Oct 16 onwards.

The co-payment would subsidise half the price of the products, government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri told the media at a briefing on Tuesday.

"The co-payment project doesn't apply to government lottery, alcoholic beverages, tobacco products and services," he clarified.

The maximum amount from the government will be limited to 150 baht per day and 3,000 baht per person throughout the period, he said.

Mr Anucha added that the amount will be transferred to the participants' electronic wallets.

The scheme would cost the exchequer 30 billion baht and about 100,000 shops run by small business operators would benefit from it, he said.

Shop owners interested in the project will be allowed to register from Thursday.

In addition to the co-payment plan, the cabinet on Tuesday gave the nod to a proposal to add another 1,500 baht to the monthly living allowance of 13.94 million state welfare cards holders.

Kanchana Tangpakon, a director of the Fiscal Policy Office, said the 1,500 baht living allowance will be paid in three installments of 500 baht a month from October until December.

The 1,500 baht is intended for buying consumer goods from the government's Thong Fa (Blue flag) shops across the country.

The latest cash splurge would add another 60 billion baht into the country's economy and is estimated to help lift gross domestic product (GDP) by 0.18%, he said.

In related news, the cabinet on Tuesday laid out additional specifications to a co-payment plan for companies which hire new graduates.

The government will extend help to companies that hire students, who work part-time to support themselves while studying and who have registered in the social security system.

The previous requirement was only that graduates who had not been under the social security scheme before could participate in the programme.

The employment subsidy programme targets 260,000 new graduates from universities and vocational institutes.

The scheme commits the government to pay 50% of the graduates' salaries.

The programme will last one year, starting next month, said Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin.

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

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