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Govt to launch Bt100 bn package to bolster grassroots economy

Sep 21. 2019
Prasong Poontaneat
Prasong Poontaneat
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By The Nation

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Prasong Poontaneat, permanent secretary of the Finance Ministry, said on Friday (September 20) that the government is preparing a brand-new stimulus package aimed at developing the grassroots economy.

“The Finance Ministry and related agencies will spend more than Bt100 billion on approximately 30 million low-income households nationwide,” he said.

Prasong explained that this measure was pioneered by Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Somkid Jatusripitak, who will assign the Finance Ministry and related agencies such as the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives and Government Saving Bank to implement the measures.

“We also expect to work with Industry and Energy ministries to push the project forward,” Prasong said, adding that this new package will not overlap with existing measures.

“For instance, we aim to help community-level financial institutions grant special loans at an interest of less than 1.25 per cent per month in order to solve the loan-shark problem."

“The objective of this measure is to not only boost the gross domestic product [GDP], but to also guarantee economic stability at the grassroots level,” he said.

“Currently there are about 7,000 community-level financial institutions, but only 2,000 of them are strong enough to provide adequate financial support to their communities. This is where state-backed banks come in to inject additional funds.”

Separately, Prasong said that the Finance Ministry was confident that the government’s “Eat, Shop, Spend” campaign will attract 10 million participants as targeted.

“More than 160,000 businesses have already registered and the number of people registering for the Bt1,000 subsidy to spend at these venues is constantly rising,” he said. “Once we hit the 10-million target, the Finance Ministry will close the registration.”

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