Thai government hands out cash to boost economy

World Today

Thai government hands out cash to boost economy

Thailand’s poorest citizens are receiving cash hand-outs in a surprise move by the country’s military government.

The military council has criticized the country’s reliance on state subsidies, saying instead that it needs to stimulate the grassroots economy.

CCTV America’s Martin Lowe reports. Follow Martin Lowe on Twitter @MartinLoweTV

Thai government hands out cash to boost economy

Thailand’s poorest citizens are receiving cash hand-outs in a surprise move by the country’s military government. The military council has criticized the country’s reliance on state subsidies, saying instead that it needs to stimulate the grassroots economy. CCTV America’s Martin Lowe reports.

Many Thais are in debt, as the once-booming export-based economy has been hit by a global slump.

Political unrest has led to low consumer confidence. Now the military government is to hand out around $350 million, as an end-of-year gift to those officially categorized as ‘impoverished’. 

Under the scheme, the lowest-earning Thais, taking home less than $840 a year, will receive a one-off payment of $84. Those with an annual salary of between $840 and $2,800, will receive a payment of $42. 

Thailand’s military leaders have vowed to end the country’s culture of populist subsidies; but have been forced to act by growing household debt, weak exports and a slump in foreign investment. Though they insist these are short-term measures, to help those in the greatest need. 

But it’s not enough, says this economist, and what’s needed is higher pay for those who work, and regular handouts for those who can’t. 

The government says payments will increase poor people’s spending power … providing a cash injection to kick-start Thailand’s stalled economy from the bottom up.