BANGKOK (Xinhua) — The Thai government’s newly formed Center for Economic Situation Administration (CESA) said on Wednesday that its first priority in rebooting the economy is to reduce the cost of living, promote consumption and employment for new graduates.
Under this scheme, the Thai government will provide a 50-percent subsidy for products purchased from participating retailers and street vendors, but no more than 3,000 baht (96 U.S. dollars) per person. Those eligible for this subsidy must be at least 18 years old.
The scheme aims to provide subsidies to 15 million persons and expects 80,000 retailers and street vendors to participate.
On the tourism front, CESA is recommending discounts for accommodations, dining and transportation for domestic travelers.
On the employment front, the government will pay 50 percent of the salaries of newly graduates as part of the incentives to encourage firms to hire fresh graduates and to keep them out of unemployment.
Thailand’s two main sources of income, tourism and export, have been badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic despite the country witnessing zero local transmission in the past three months.
The Bank of Thailand earlier forecasted the economy to shrink by 5.3 percent in 2020.
100 Days Without Local Outbreak
Thailand’s Center for the COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) also said on Wednesday that the country has made the 100-day mark free from local transmission of COVID-19, however the economy has been hit hard by the pandemic, as Thailand relies heavily on tourism and exports.
Thailand hasn’t recorded any community transmission since May 26, said the CCSA.
The CCSA attributed the success in stemming the COVID-19 spread with strict measures such as strictly-policed borders that have been closed to foreigners for months.
However with the skies shut and borders sealed, the Thai economy had since March been suffering with the lack of cash flows from the tourism industry.
The Thai government has in principle agreed to open to tourists again ahead of the northern hemisphere winter, and is in the midst of planning to grant a maximum stay of nine months for long-stay tourists in the popular resort island of Phuket.