Ministry to tap central fund for economic mitigation measures
Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said on Wednesday that he plans to use the government’s central emergency fund to provide more economic mitigation measures in the second half of this year.
Arkhom said the Finance Ministry is still discussing with the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council about possible measures to mitigate economic grievances and reduce the cost of living for the poor.
The two agencies are still discussing which measures will be appropriate to be launched during the second half of the year with money from the central fund, Arkhom added.
Apart from new measures, the government will also extend existing measures to help the poor cope with rising cost of living, he said.
“For example, the government has extended the measures to subsidise the prices of NGV gas for vehicles and cooking gas for household use,” Arkhom said.
He added that the Finance Ministry still has time to consider whether to extend the reduction of excise tax on diesel oil. The current tax reduction period for diesel oil will end on July 20.
The finance minister said the government would have to be more selective to subsidise oil prices because the government has a limited budget and the central fund is also dwindling.
Arkhom expressed confidence that the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) would still expand by 3.5 per cent this year, which would be in the estimated range of 3 to 4 per cent.
He said the GDP would grow within the targeted range because Thailand has been fully opened, allowing more foreign tourists to visit the kingdom.
Arkhom said the Tourism and Sports Ministry has adjusted its projection of foreign arrivals from 7 million to at least 9.5 million.
The finance minister said Thailand’s exports were still growing and during the first four months of this year, exports had expanded by 14 per cent year on year.
“With more foreign arrivals and growing exports, I’m confident the country’s GDP will reach the target,” Arkhom said.