ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Thailand plans 35b baht boost to rural economy
THAILAND will consider a stimulus programme worth up to 35 billion baht (US$972.49 million) to boost the rural economy, a deputy prime minister said yesterday, as the ruling junta tries to revive flagging growth.
The army seized power in May 2014 to end months of political unrest but has been unable to move Southeast Asia’s economy forward as pivotal exports and domestic demand remain sluggish.
The latest stimulus follows a raft of already approved economic measures, including some 136 billion baht of spending approved in September to inject cash into rural areas.
“We will propose a programme to develop and strengthen the grassroots economy,” Deputy Prime Ministry Somkid Jatusripitak, in charge of economic matters, told a seminar.
“It will be in the cabinet tomorrow. Each village will receive up to 500,000 baht, to around 70,000 villages, or worth about 35 billion baht.”
Thailand’s cabinet meets weekly on Tuesday.
The rural economy has been hit hard by drought and low farm prices, exacerbated by the junta’s withdrawal of the generous subsidies of the government it toppled.
In September, Somkid told Reuters that boosting rural incomes was an urgent priority.
Somkid said he also expected about 100 billion baht from infrastructure projects to go into the economy this year. He did not elaborate.
Thailand expects some 20 infrastructure projects worth nearly 1.8 trillion baht covering rail, roads, air transport and ports throughout the country to be under way before 2018 .
But many of those projects have been on the drawing board for years and have been repeatedly delayed.
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