11 July 2024

Thailand’s economic think-tank, the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI), has proposed the Government directly help workers and their families and small enterprises affected by the closures, imposed by the authorities, to stem COVID-19 transmission.

It suggested that what it described as “blanket” help, such as cuts in electricity and water charges, be scrapped in favour of extensions to social security schemes, related to unemployment, to cover workers who are paid on a daily basis and taxi drivers, among others.

Under TDRI’s proposal, each household of workers who are not covered by the social security scheme should be given a handout of 1,500 baht/month for a family of two, 2,500 baht/month for a family of 3-4 and 500 baht/month each for additional family member for three consecutive months.  There are between 6 and 7 million households who are eligible for the handouts.

The TDRI said that those who were issued with state welfare cards, but who own property worth more than three million baht, with combined bank deposits exceeding 100,000 baht or an average monthly income of more than 15,000 baht for each family member, should not be entitled to the giveaways.

The think-tank said it did not use the database of the state welfare card scheme, in determining which households would be eligible for the giveaways, because the database is not accurate and needs to be updated and because 4-5 million low income-earners were missed out of the state welfare scheme.

As for small enterprises, the TDRI said they should be given financial support, such as subsidies for rental fees, because they provide jobs.

Regarding the fight against COVID-19, the TDRI warned the Government not to be complacent, due to the drop in the rate of new virus infections over the past two days, but should engage in crisis management and communicate directly with the public, so they won’t be confused and to engender trust in the Government.