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Thailand passes record Bt1.9-trillion stimulus package

The Thai Parliament approved three key emergency decrees providing Bt1.9-trillion aid package to businesses and people hit by the Covid-19 fallout

Olivier Languepin

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Thailand’s parliament approved a 1.9 trillion baht (US$59.7 billion) stimulus package, the kingdom’s biggest-ever cash injection, as Southeast Asia’s second-biggest economy is expected to contract by 6 to 7 per cent in 2020.

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The lower house of Parliament on Sunday (May 31) voted to approve three key emergency decrees providing financial support to businesses and people hit by the Covid-19 fallout.

The first decree authorises the Finance Ministry to borrow about 1 trillion baht to fund the government’s economic and social rehabilitation to provide support to people adversely affected by the virus outbreak.

The second emergency decree is authorising the Bank of Thailand to provide Bt500 billion soft loans to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) hit by the Covid-19 fallout

The third emergency decree is to support bond market liquidity with Bt400 billion via the Corporate Bond Stabilisation Fund (BSF), established by the Finance Ministry and the Bank of Thailand,

Opposition MPs criticised the lack of transparency in how the money will be allocated.

A local trade association estimates that 6.5 million people will be permanently out of a job by the end of 2020.

So far, more than 20 million have registered for a government handout of 5,000 baht (US$150), while many others say they have been left out of the scheme. 

The virus’ toll has slowed in recent weeks in Thailand, but its tourism-reliant economy, choked by a lockdown on international travel, is expected to contract by 6 to 7 per cent in 2020.

Thailand received no foreign tourists or related spending in April after closing its borders and banning most incoming international flights to fight the novel coronavirus outbreak, according to Bloomberg.

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National News Bureau of Thailand

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BANGKOK (NNT) – Thailand’s fruit exports continue to increase, despite the sluggish global economy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, with key trade partners being countries that have free trade agreements (FTAs) with the kingdom.

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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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