Thursday, April 02, 2020

Telecom licence fees, tax hikes fund stimulus

Apr 07. 2016
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THE 4G licence fees and hikes in excise taxes on tobacco and fuel have provided about Bt65 billion to Bt85 billion to the government to launch more measures to boost the economy, according to Kasikorn Research Centre.
The extra revenue to the Finance Ministry gives the government the fiscal status to accommodate the fiscal policy to enhance the economy, Pimonwan Mahujchariyawong, deputy managing director of KResearch, said yesterday.
The bidding for two telecom licences on the 1,800-megahertz spectrum last year added Bt80.78 billion to state coffers. The licences are for fourth-generation wireless broadband service.
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission has already transferred the first instalments of both winning bidders, Advanced Info Service and True Corp, totalling Bt40.29 billion, to the Finance Ministry.
The auction of two 900MHz licences last year gained Bt76.3 billion from only one winner, True Corp.
The other winner, Jas Mobile Broadband, failed to pay the initial upfront fee by the March 21 deadline, thus forfeiting the licence. 
True recently paid the first instalment of Bt8.04 billion for the 900MHz licence. 
The additional revenue will help keep the budget deficit at 2.9 per cent this year, while the ratio of public debt to gross domestic product will stay below 50 per cent, KResearch said.
The research house has maintained its forecast for GDP growth at 3 per cent this year after the government launched more economic stimulus packages. 
The government recently announced five stimulus measures. 
The first is a supplementary budget of Bt56.28 billion within the 2016 fiscal budget, resulting in Bt39.40 billion in funds to inject into the economic system.
The second measure is the Bt70-billion Pracha Rath residential project.
Pimonwan said project financing for developers that want to build Pracha Rath residences will contribute more to GDP than mortgages because there is still existing inventory to be sold, while project financing is for new residential developments.
KResearch sees about Bt20 billion in project financing this year. 
Under the Bt70-billion Pracha Rath scheme, Bt30 billion is for project financing. Krungthai Bank, the Government Housing Bank and the Government Savings Bank are the lenders. 
The remaining Bt40 billion is for low-income borrowers. GH Bank and GSB oversee this lending.
The other measures are tax incentives for Songkran spending, the new round of the Village Fund scheme and the registration of low-income citizens to target aid to them.
The five measures are expected to contribute Bt60 billion to Bt80 billion, or 0.4-0.6 percentage point, to GDP growth. 
This should offset factors that will hurt GDP – drought, lower exports and delayed private investment. 
The drought should end this quarter but if the situation drags on to next quarter, prices of agricultural products and consumption will be more affected and that will increase pressure on GDP growth, Pimonwan said. 

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