Thailand approves $807mln relief measures, extends travel scheme

The relief measures will be offered to welfare card holders

  
New baht banknotes featuring Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn are unveiled during a news conference at Bank of Thailand headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand, July 3, 2018.

New baht banknotes featuring Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn are unveiled during a news conference at Bank of Thailand headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand, July 3, 2018.

REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

BANGKOK - Thailand's cabinet approved on Tuesday a further 27 billion baht ($807.17 million) in COVID-19 relief measures and extended a scheme to boost local travel, officials said, to try to spur domestic activity in a struggling economy.

A fierce outbreak since April and stricter containment measures have hit consumption while the tourism sector, a key source of revenue and jobs, remains lacklustre.

Some of the curbs have been relaxed from this month as infections and deaths have declined and vaccinations have increased.

The relief measures, such as a subsidy on utilities, will be offered to welfare card holders, government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana told a news conference.

The government also agreed to extend support for the existing scheme to encourage domestic travel until the end of February as the coronavirus situation eases, he said.

The benefits include a subsidy of up to 3,000 baht plus a 600-baht voucher per hotel room per night, and a subsidy of up to 3,000 baht on flights.

Cabinet also approved an investment budget of 468 billion baht for state enterprises and subsidiaries in the 2022 fiscal year starting on Oct. 1, said deputy government spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek.

The investment will help boost economic growth by 0.31 percentage point and create 163,000 jobs, she added.

The government also approved investment projects worth 1.9 billion baht to support the rural economy, said deputy government spokeswoman Traisulee Traisoranakul. ($1 = 33.45 baht)

(Reporting by Satawasin Staporncharnchai and Panarat Thepgumpanat Writing by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Martin Petty) ((orathai.sriring@tr.com;))


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