5,000 Baht Cash Handouts Extended to 6 Months

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha chairs the Cabinet meeting on April 7, 2020.

BANGKOK — The government’s 5,000-baht cash relief program for those put out of work by the coronavirus pandemic was extended to 6 months in a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

The decision was made just as the government is seeking to secure a 1.9 trillion baht fund to be used as a relief package to mitigate the economic impact caused by the pandemic, suggesting the crisis is nowhere near its end. An emergency loan of 1 trillion baht will be made by the Ministry of Finance.

Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha said the emergency loan decree is expected to come into effect by June.

Up to 9 million people working in “informal jobs” will be eligible for the 5,000 baht monthly cash handout, he said. About 23 million people have applied for the program so far.

Additionally, up to 100 billion baht will come from the government annual budget while a soft loan of 500 billion baht will be handled by the Bank of Thailand, the kingdom’s central bank.

The soft loan, with an interest rate of 2 percent per annum, will be offered to help small and medium scale enterprises, or SMEs. These businesses can seek up to 500 million baht loan per enterprise.

Out of the total sum of money the government is seeking to secure, 400 billion baht will be used to ensure stability of the banking sector.

Another 600 billion baht will be allocated to the healthcare sector battling the coronavirus.

The Bank of Thailand has projected the Thai economy will shrink by 5.3 per cent this year.