Thai Government launches financial rescue packages for “Dark Red” provinces

Bangkok on July 12, 2021, on the first day of stricter lockdown restrictions to try to contain the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus. (Photo by Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP)

Thailand’s cabinet has rolled out financial packages to help employees and employers in nine types of business and freelancers in the 10 province most affected by the latest lockdown measures. The financial assistance will be for one month, but may be extended if the situation warrants it, said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

In addition, small, medium and large households and businesses, especially non-profit organizations across the country will have their water and electricity fees cut for July and August.

The financial package will cost taxpayers about 30 billion baht for the month, while the utility rate cuts will cost another 12 billion baht over a two-month period.

The nine types of businesses entitled to financial support include construction, lodging and food services, art, entertainment and recreational activities, wholesaling, retailing and vehicle maintenance services, transport and warehousing businesses, management and support services for science and technical activities, communications and information services.

Employees under Section 33 of the labour law, working in any of these business types, are eligible to receive half of their salaries, but not more than 7,500 baht during the one-month period. Employees who are Thai citizens will receive an additional 2,500 baht. Employers will receive 3,000 baht for each employee, but for not more than 200 employees.

For former employees, under Section 39 of the labour law, who are unemployed for up to 6 months, and who are still covered by the social security scheme, and freelancers, will be entitled to 5,000 baht each.  Freelancers must, however, register under Section 40 of labour law within this month to be eligible.

Businesses who have employees not covered by social security scheme must register under Section 33 within July, to be eligible to receive the support for their employees and for themselves (3,000 baht for each employee under employment but not more than 200 employees).

Businesses which do not have any employees and are not covered by social security scheme must register under Section 40 this month to be eligible to receive the financial support.

Businesses subscribed to the 50:50 co-payment and Rao Chana schemes, which do not have any employees, must also register this month, under Section 40, in order to receive 5,000 baht support.

For households which consume less than 150 units of electricity, the first 90 units are free of charge.  Those which consume more than 150 units, if the power consumed is lower or equal to the amount used in February, actual usage of the electricity will be charged.  If more than in February, but not exceeding 500 units, the charge for February will be applied.  If 501-1,000 units are consumed, the fees charged will be equivalent to the fees for February plus 50% of the normal rate for the excess used. For small enterprises, the first 100 units are free of charge.

For water fees, only households and small enterprises are eligible for 10% fee cuts for July and August.

The Finance Ministry and the Bank of Thailand have been told to discuss, with commercial banks, ways to ease debt repayments for their debtors, both private individuals and businesses.

The prime minister said that this financial package will cost the state a substantial portion of its budget, but he finds the assistance is necessary to help people weather this crisis.

“I appeal to all of you not to surrender at this moment of hardship. We will not give-in in this war, not giving up our efforts, no matter what the obstacles.  We will fight on until we achieve victory,” said the prime minister.

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