Committed to spending its way out of the economic hole, Thailand has a new stimulating plan to put money into consumers’ wallets.
A proposal to spend THB45 billion (US$1.44 billion) to subsidize spending on daily goods and boost small business was endorsed by the prime minister and COVID-19 task force yesterday, according to Danucha Pichayanan of the national economic planning agency.
The money would pay for half the cost for eligible goods for all Thais 18 and up via the government-approved e-wallet. After people load cash into Krung Thai Bank’s Paotang app – the same used for the travel subsidy – the government would pay 50% of the bill at registered local shops, capped at THB3,000 for the lifetime of the program.
The funds would cover up to 15 million consumers, who would be able to spend THB100 to THB250 daily using the app, Danucha said.
For example, for THB100 worth of eligible purchases, the shop collects THB50 from the consumer while the government pays the remaining THB50. If approved, it will cover spending on food, beverages and other consumer goods excluding booze and smokes. It is expected to run from October to December.
The funds would be drawn from the nearly THB2 trillion (US$64 billion) COVID-19 piggy bank set aside earlier this year.
Danucha said 80,000 shops nationwide, emphasizing SMEs and street vendors, are expected to participate in the scheme and generate an estimated THB90 billion in spending.
Final details are expected from the Finance Ministry within two weeks.