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Thailand’s finance minister confident of 4% growth in 2022 despite Omicron threat

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The 4-per-cent expansion of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2022 is achievable even though Thailand and global communities are facing the threat of the variant of concern Omicron, Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said on Monday.

He was speaking at the online seminar “Investment Minutes in Late 2021” hosted by the Thai News Agency.

The minister said Thailand may not take that long to fully recover from the Covid-19 crisis compared to the 1997 Tom Yam Kung crisis, which took more than two years to overcome.

“The government has been working to gradually reopen the country and unlock more businesses even though the pandemic is not completely eliminated,” he said. “At this rate, the economy will recover slowly, with a 1 per cent GPD expansion expected this year and a 3.5-4.5 per cent growth in 2022.”

Thailand’s finance minister confident of 4% growth in 2022 despite Omicron threat

Arkhom pointed out that though the tourism industry, which accounts for 12 per cent of the GDP, has been severely affected by the pandemic, steady growth in the export sector has helped Thailand’s economy stay in the positive realm this year.

“We estimate that the total export of 2021 could expand up to 17 per cent, which is the highest in the past 12 years,” he said. “Other factors that help mitigate the impact of Covid-19 are the government’s different stimulus measures, such as ‘Rao Mai Thing Gun’ [We Won’t Leave Anyone Behind], Eat, Shop, Spend, Let’s Go Halves and Let's Travel Together campaigns.

“As the threat of Covid-19 still lingers with the emergence of Omicron variant, we need to continue keeping our guard up by following strict disease control measures. By working together across public and private sectors, the 4 per cent GDP expansion in 2022 is certainly achievable,” he said.

Arkhom also said the government may consider reducing the stimulus measures once the economy starts gaining pace in 2022 and more businesses can continue their operation as usual.

“The government will then shift its spending focus from economic stimulation to infrastructure projects such as transportation routes and irrigation system to serve as a foundation for future investments,” he said.

Published : November 30, 2021

By : THE NATION