Thailand: Finance Minister outlines ambitious plans

  • Addressing cost of living, easier retail loan accessibility, extending state welfare to pregnant women and firstborns, and improving healthcare services are among the Finance Ministry’s priorities, says Minister Uttama Savanayana.
  • Widening access to medical services, alleviating congestion at large hospitals and assisting top-scoring students who have financial difficulties will also be on the ministry’s urgent list, he said after a discussion with the ministry’s high-ranking officials.
  • The short-term measures will be financed by the 2019 annual budget, while the longer-term ones will be funded by 2020’s budget, said Mr Uttama.
  • He said the ministry will adjust the 2020 fiscal budget to enable government spending to be injected faster into the economy, while salary hikes for first-time workers would be in line with labour skills.
  • The long-term measures include keeping fiscal discipline, offering tax incentives for investors who embark in new targeted industries, tax structure reform, tax rejigs to serve the digital era and enhance the private sector’s competitive edge, and big data adoption for fiscal management.
  • For savings, the Finance Ministry wants to nudge everyone to have long-term savings for retirement.
  • It also plans to develop the capital market, as well as infrastructure to serve the digital economy, bioeconomy, circular economy, green economy, creative economy. Another goal is to improve laws for new entrepreneurs, he said.
  • The ministry under his leadership will continue developing the Eastern Economic Corridor to serve as Asia’s media hub, an aviation centre and a smart city.
  • The EEC should also connect the agricultural sector to industry and solve land problems to drive the country’s economy towards sustainability, he said.
  • Sources say that if the long-awaited 2020 budget expenditure framework of THB3.2tr, scheduled to seek the cabinet’s nod on 6 Aug 19, is not changed, only THB70-80bn will be left over for the government to make good on election promises.
  • Dechapiwat Na Songkhla, director of the Budget Bureau, has said that as THB200-300bn is needed to fulfil all of the government’s election promises, the government must either scale back election promises or prioritise some over others.

External Link : https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1717791/uttama-outlines-ambitious-plans

External Link : https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1717727/little-wiggle-room-likely-in-budget

24-Jul-2019


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