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Underutilisation behind cutting back subsidy scheme: Arkham


The Cabinet has approved the implementation of measures costing 44 billion baht to maintain domestic consumption in 2022, Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith revealed on Monday.


The money would be spent on three projects — State welfare card, special budget for those seeking urgent help, and Khon La Khrueng (Let's Go Halves).

Arkham said these three projects would help maintain purchasing power by adding 79 billion baht to the economy in 2022, boosting 2022 gross domestic product by 0.21 per cent.

He explained that the Khon La Khrueng co-payment subsidy scheme was cut back in phase 4 to 1,200 baht per person due to data from the third phase. He said 1.6 million people had been granted rights but they had not been making full use of it, while those who had availed of the subsidy scheme were found to be spending on average 158 baht per person per day. As a result, a credit limit of more than 11 billion baht was returned to the state at the end of the phase.

Under phase 3 of Khon La Khrueng, the government paid for half of food, drinks and purchases of general goods up to 300 baht per person per day, capped at 3,000 baht per person.

It has been found that the economic indices have begun to recover sequentially, Arkham said, adding, people were starting to come out to buy more products. Businesses have resumed and workers have been called back to work. Therefore, in phase four, the limit has been reduced to 1,200 baht per person per month, valid for three months.

“The reduction in the provision for the project was not due to a lack of government funds,” he clarified, adding, when the economy starts to recover it has to reduce the use of top-up measures.

“Now, there's still about 100 billion dollars left in the Loan Act, which is enough to take care of the economy. But we have to save because there are other projects that are pending approval and we have to reserve money for other cases as well,” he said.

Published : January 24, 2022

By : THE NATION