Thailand to roll out US$7 billion stimulus package

Finance minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith has proposed for 210 billion baht (US$7 billion) to be given as cash handouts to individuals and companies.
By: | January 18, 2021

This development came about as the kingdom grapples with the doubling of COVID-19 cases to 11,000 in the past one month since the pandemic first broke out. 

Under the stimulus package, the government will distribute cash to about 30 million people, mostly informal sector workers and farmers, who are badly affected by restrictions on businesses and movement controls, said Danucha Pichayanan, secretary general of the National Economic and Social Development Council. Each beneficiary will receive 3,500 baht (US$117) per month for two months starting as early as February. 

When the cabinet meets next Tuesday, it may also approve the proposal to extend state-funded programmes to boost domestic spending and tourism after current curbs are lifted, Arkhom said.  

The government has about 209 billion baht (US$6.9 billion) to meet the additional expenses and can also draw from 260-billion-baht (US$8.7-billion) surplus from another programme to support fresh stimulus, Danucha said. 

As for the efforts to contain the outbreak, the government has so far refrained from imposing a broad lockdown that was used during the first outbreak early last year to minimise the impact on the economy. Instead, it has placed restrictions on businesses and travels depending on the severity of the outbreak in each region. 

READ: Thailand approves more measures to soften COVID-19 blow

But some health experts and analysts have warned looser restrictions could mean it would take longer to contain the virus. Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow said the government expects to contain the outbreak by the end of March, according to Bloomberg.