Thai COVID-19 aid plan includes stipends for ‘informal workers’

A tuk-tuk driver in Bangkok.
A tuk-tuk driver in Bangkok.

Freelancers, contractors and the self-employed will be eligible to receive THB5,000 for three months amid the COVID-19 outbreak. 

A stimulus package worth upward of THB200 billion (US$6.1 billion) approved Tuesday includes THB5,000 (US$152) stipends for registered “informal workers” starting April 1, according to Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak. The financial assistance will continue until June. 

Eligible applicants must be Thai nationals who register with the Government Savings Bank, Bank of Agriculture, Krungthai Bank or via a website expected to be available starting March 28.

THB45 billion has been allocated for the up to three million expected, eligible applicants, according to Somkid.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand was trading up as of mid-day on the news as Asian markets have been rallying on the heels of a Wall Street rebound.

Somkid said on Tuesday that they can also seek emergency loans at very low interest rates, such as a THB10,000 loan at only 0.10% monthly interest, or a THB50,000 loan at 0.35% monthly interest. THB60 billion was set aside for the soft loans.

Other relief measures include postponing tax day until the end of August, and tax deductions for health insurance holders of up to THB25,000 over the current THB15,000.

Tuesday’s aid package came a few hours after Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha announced that a state of emergency would come into effect Thursday, with many speculating it will include a full public lockdown and curfew. 


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