Govt hopeful of 4% annual growth

Govt hopeful of 4% annual growth

The government plans to achieve economic growth of 4% this year, Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said yesterday.

However, he said the outcome depended on several factors, including local investments, the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) development project, the economic stimulus schemes and the reopening of the country.

Mr Arkhom said the US government's US$1.9-trillion (58.3 trillion baht) coronavirus relief package should also benefit the Thai economy.

The minister said the economy appeared to be on the road to recovery since plumbing the depths last year, but economic activity was still curtailed following the second virus outbreak in December.

He said external factors would largely determine when the economy fully recovers because the country was still missing revenue from tourism and exports were only slowly picking up.

"By the fourth quarter of next year, income from tourism will flow in, both inbound and outbound," said Mr Arkhom. "We need to promote outbound tourism too because it is related to the aviation industry.

"I think tourism will increase later this year as there will be a rollout of vaccine passports."

The minister said there were no plans to cut the 20% corporate tax ceiling as tax revenue was the government's main source of income and the tax ceiling was low compared with neighbouring countries.

He said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had praised Thailand's economic stimulus schemes and thought they would remain until the country was fully over the pandemic, which is expected to take two years.

The IMF projects Thailand's economic growth at 2.6%, slightly below the ministry's own forecast of 2.8%.

Meanwhile, the ministry is finalising the details of the "Rao Phook Pun" (We're all connected) scheme to help one million low-income civil servants.

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