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World

Thailand approves $7bn stimulus to mitigate virus impact

  • The government had sufficient funds with about 500 billion baht available under the borrowing plan, said Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow.
Published January 20, 2021

BANGKOK: Thailand's cabinet Tuesday approved 210 billion baht ($6.99 billion) of new stimulus to boost consumption and help alleviate the economic impact of a recent spike in coronavirus cases in the country, the finance minister said.

The government will offer 31.1 million people, mainly low-income earners, up to 7,000 baht each, with payments made weekly during February-March, Finance minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith told a briefing.

The money must be used to buy goods and services from sellers registered with the government until the end of May, he said.

The government will also allow 1.34 million people to register for a 3,500 baht subsidy available under the current co-payment scheme, Arkhom said.

"The measures will help reduce living costs and ease the impact of the new outbreak," he said.

The new programme should boost economic growth by 0.5-0.6 percentage points, but together with the co-payment scheme, growth should be lifted by 1 percentage point, Arkhom said.

The stimulus will be financed by the government's planned 1 trillion baht borrowing as it aims to mitigate the impact of the pandemic for a struggling economy with a beleaguered tourism sector still far away from recovering.

The government had sufficient funds with about 500 billion baht available under the borrowing plan, said Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow.

Thailand on Tuesday reported 171 new coronavirus cases amid the fresh outbreak detected last month, taking its total infections to 12,594 since a year ago.

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