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Thai Prime Minister considers funding options to boost economy with $13.7 billion handout plan

Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin recently announced that the economy was facing challenges and required a boost from a proposed 500 billion baht ($13.7 billion) handout scheme. This scheme, known as the “digital wallet,” involved transferring 10,000 baht ($275) to 50 million Thais to be spent within six months. Despite the benefits of this scheme, concerns about its funding have been raised, with some experts calling it fiscally irresponsible.

The government had initially aimed to distribute the funds by May but now anticipates doing so in the fourth quarter of the year. Srettha stated that the finance ministry and Budget Bureau were exploring different funding options for the scheme, including the possibility of a borrowing bill. He emphasized the importance of boosting the economy, especially given the low growth rates experienced over the past decade.

In 2023, the Thai economy unexpectedly contracted in the final quarter, leading to a full-year growth rate of 1.9%, lower than the 2.5% growth seen in 2022. The state planning agency has revised its 2024 growth forecast to between 2.2% and 3.2%. Discussions about funding sources for the handout scheme will be held at an upcoming meeting on April 10, where details of

By Samantha Jones

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