• Mon. May 27th, 2024

Thai Prime Minister considers funding options for $13.7 billion stimulus package to bolster economy


Mar 27, 2024

Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin announced on Wednesday that the economy was facing challenges and needed a boost from a proposed handout scheme worth 500 billion baht ($13.7 billion). This scheme, known as the “digital wallet” plan, would involve transferring 10,000 baht ($275) to 50 million Thais to be spent within six months. However, concerns about the funding for this scheme have arisen, with some experts questioning its fiscal responsibility.

The government has decided to delay the distribution of funds until the fourth quarter of the year, pushing back from the initial timeline of May. Srettha revealed that the finance ministry and the Budget Bureau have been tasked with exploring potential funding sources for the scheme, in addition to considering a borrowing bill. He emphasized the importance of boosting the economy, which has experienced low growth over the past decade.

With the economy contracting unexpectedly in the final quarter of 2023 and full-year growth at 1.9%, below the 2.5% growth in 2022, the state planning agency has revised its 2024 growth outlook. The new projection ranges from 2.2% to 3.2%, down from the previous estimate of 2.7% to 3.7%. The government plans to discuss the funding source for the scheme at its next meeting on April 10, where further details will be finalized.

While the government has approved the budget for the 2024 fiscal year in recent days, it has faced challenges in seeking a borrowing bill to finance the handout program. Srettha has labeled the current economic situation as a crisis that requires urgent stimulus measures. However, the central bank governor has expressed a different viewpoint, acknowledging slower-than-expected growth and structural issues in the economy.

By editor

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