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1.7 million Thais without smartphones register for "Rao Chana" benefits

The Rao Chana scheme has seen a large number of Thais who don’t have smartphones visiting the branches of Krung Thai Bank (KTB) and its mobile units around the country to register in person for the government’s 7,000-baht benefit.

National News Bureau of Thailand

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BANGKOK (NNT) – The Rao Chana scheme has seen a large number of Thais who don’t have smartphones visiting the branches of Krung Thai Bank (KTB) and its mobile units around the country to register in person for the government’s 7,000-baht benefit.

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Although it is a long weekend, the mobile units have been operating daily to ensure every eligible person gets registered and receives the benefit as soon as possible.

Fiscal Policy Office Director, Kulaya Tantitemit, as the spokesperson of the Finance Ministry, has confirmed that during the weekend, KTB mobile units have been open for business to provide a registration service for people who do not have a smart phone and want to register for the government’s stimulus package aimed at helping people financially-affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.

For those without a smartphone, registration opened in two rounds. The first one closed on 21st February. Eligibility was verified and announced on 4th March, and recipients could start spending on 5th March. The second round of registrations will continue until 5th March. The verification results will be announced on 15th March, and they can start spending from 19th March onwards.

Spending through this project has reached 58 billion baht. Local vendors have also benefitted from the project as their sales have increased despite complaints that the electronic payment system was down occasionally. The government allocated 210 billion baht to this project, expecting to financially support the people during tough times, while helping to revive the economy, especially small businesses, at the same time.

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Economics

50:50 campaign may not get immediate extension

National News Bureau of Thailand

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BANGKOK (NNT) – The government’s 50:50 co-pay campaign expiring on 31st March may not be getting an immediate campaign extension. The Minister of Finance says campaign evaluation is needed to improve future campaigns.

The Minister of Finance Arkhom Termpittayapaisith today announced the government may not be able to reach a conclusion on the extension of the 50:50 co-pay campaign in time for the current 31st March campaign end date, as evaluations are needed to better improve the campaign.

Originally introduced last year, the 50:50 campaign is a financial aid campaign for people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, in which the government subsidizes up to half the price of purchases at participating stores, with a daily cap on the subsidy amount of 150 baht, and a 3,500 baht per person subsidy limit over the entire campaign.

The campaign has already been extended once, with the current end date set for 31st March.

The Finance Minister said that payout campaigns for the general public are still valid in this period, allowing time for the 50:50 campaign to be assessed, and to address reports of fraud at some participating stores.

The Fiscal Police Office Director General and the Ministry of Finance Spokesperson Kulaya Tantitemit, said today that a bigger quota could be offered in Phase 3 of the 50:50 campaign beyond the 15 million people enrolled in the first two phases, while existing participants will need to confirm their identity if they want to participate in Phase 3, without the need to fill out the registration form.

Mrs Kulaya said the campaign will still be funded by emergency loan credit allocated for pandemic compensation, which still has about 200 billion baht available as of today.

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Economics

Customs Department Considers Measures to Help SMEs

National News Bureau of Thailand

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BANGKOK (NNT) – The Customs Department is seeking ways to reduce the impact of the exemption on import tax and value-added tax (VAT) for imported goods worth up to 1,500 baht, as such measures are hurting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

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