Monday, March 30, 2020

Govt stimulus packages to help prop up economy: Uttama

Feb 21. 2020
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By THE NATION

Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana said on Thursday (February 21) that he was confident the Thai economy would recover in the coming months when the situations of the new coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak and the global trade war start to improve.

He was addressing a meeting with analysts and investors at the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

“Furthermore, the government’s stimulus packages will kick off soon after the budget bill passes, which will help improve domestic spending and generate more investments in both government and state enterprise projects,” he added.

Uttama said that his ministry was preparing short-term measures to help entrepreneurs who had been affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.

“As for the fiscal 2020 budget of Bt3.2 trillion, the Bureau of Budget has informed the Cabinet that up to 80 per cent will be ready for disbursement through the next six months,” he said. “Approximately Bt640 billion will be allotted for investment in new government projects, whereas disbursement of Bt350 billion can start immediately after the bill passes, Bt96 billion will be disbursed once the projects finish the terms of reference and Bt240 billion should be ready for disbursement from the third quarter onwards.”

As for the investment budget for state enterprise projects, the Finance Minister said the first batch of Bt100 billion from the total of Bt350 billion should be ready for disbursement in March.

Uttama also said that the Ministry of Tourism and Sports had estimated that if the Covid-19 situation resolved around June-July, the tourism industry should be able to recover in the second half of the year. “Last week we discussed with government and private sectors possible measures to improve domestic tourism after the outbreak and expect that the final measures should be ready soon.”

When asked about the rumour that the US is planning to put Thailand on its watch list for currency manipulation, the Finance Minister said that he and the Bank of Thailand are monitoring the currency situation closely and will make sure that Thailand was not put on the list.

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