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WEDNESDAY, December 06, 2023

PM Srettha holds talks on household debt, stimulus amid weak GDP growth

PM Srettha holds talks on household debt, stimulus amid weak GDP growth
TUESDAY, November 21, 2023

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin on Monday said he met with banking and Finance Ministry officials to discuss measures to address household debt and other pressing economic issues ahead of today’s Cabinet meeting.

Srettha, who doubles as finance minister, said the talks also addressed tourism stimulus packages to be presented at Cabinet meetings today and next Tuesday.

A focus of the talks was resolving the debt problem stemming from both formal and informal (black-market) loans. A plan for official debts will be announced on November 28, while black-market debt will be addressed on December 12.

Thailand’s household debt has surged 11.5% this year to its highest in 12 years, with the average household more than 500,000 baht in debt.

Meanwhile, asked about a recent opinion poll showing public opposition to the government’s plan to borrow money to fund its digital wallet scheme, Srettha said there was still general agreement on the policy.

The talks also addressed Thailand's low GDP growth of 1.5% in the third quarter this year, compared with regional competitors like Malaysia at 3.3%, Indonesia (4.94%), and Vietnam (5.33%).

Srettha said the digital wallet scheme, tourism stimulus, “soft power” policies, and moves to address black-market debt were designed to boost the economy and accelerate GDP growth.

Implementation of the digital wallet scheme for 10,000-baht payments was more urgent after third-quarter GDP figures fell short of the 2% growth forecast by the House of Representatives Secretariat, he added.

Srettha said that those earning less than 70,000 baht per month will be eligible for both the digital wallet and e-Refund projects.