PM calls for more domestic spending as ministry readies stimulus measures


The government has yet to finalise details of its measures to stimulate the economy, including the plan to hand out Bt1,500 for people to travel to second-tier cities, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said yesterday.

He said the government and related agencies were studying the plans and nothing has been concluded, adding that the authorities need to take many factors into account. 
The PM also said people with spending capacity should spend, because if people stop spending, everything will ground to a halt, admitting that the government needed to introduce measures that would encourage domestic spending. 
In a related matter, the Finance Ministry will reportedly propose economic stimulus measures worth over Bt22 billion on April 30. 
Among the measures planned, about Bt 7 billion will be added to the state welfare cards for three specific groups. Of the three, parents will be given Bt500 per child for the purchase of school uniforms, learning tools, textbooks and sportswear; registered farmers will receive Bt1,000 each to buy fertiliser; while 100,000 registered disabled persons will be given an additional Bt200 to Bt300 per month from May to September. 
The state already provides subsidies worth Bt600 to Bt800 per month through these cards.
The other two measures will involve tourism. 
One project is to promote tourism in secondary cities, aiming to give 10 million people, aged 18 or older, Bt1,500 each to spend in secondary cities. 
Those who register for this travel subsidy will first have to use a debit card in a government blue flag shop in any of the 55 secondary cities to prove their identities through an electronic data capture system. 
Once their identities are proven, Krungthai Bank will transfer Bt1,500 to their bank accounts for spending. Another tourism promotion measure will be the extension of tax-deduction measures, which ended in December last year. 
The measure will offer tax |deduction for spending of not more than Bt15,000 per person in both main and secondary cities nationwide.
The ministry also plans to offer a measure to prop up the property market by offering tax benefits to buyers, while another will be to reduce the tax on books throughout the year. As for business, the ministry will propose a tax deduction of 1.5 to 2 times the expense for shops using the point of sale system as a means to encourage shops to enter the electronic payment system. 
Also, in order to promote the future workforce for Thailand’s 10 targeted industries, the ministry will also propose the setting up of a Student Loan Fund to fund students who want to study in these related fields.