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Thailand’s finances stable despite pandemic, global slowdown: govt

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Thailand is financially stable despite the Covid-19 crisis and global economic woes, the government spokesman said on Sunday.

Spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said the country is economically strong even though the government has had to offer subsidies to ease the burden on citizens affected by the pandemic and global oil crisis. He added that the country’s financial stability has been maintained because the government has implemented support measures under strict financial discipline.

Thanakorn added that the country’s financial stability is evident from the fact that the treasury had about 418.59 billion baht in cash for the first five months of the 2022 fiscal year (October 2021-February 2022).

During these five months, the Finance Ministry earned about 901.44 billion baht in revenue, while government spending came in at 1.43 trillion baht, forcing it to borrow 394.47 billion baht to offset the deficit.

The spokesman added that the government had made provisions for a budget deficit of 700 billion baht for the 2022 fiscal year and the more than 400 billion baht cash in the treasury was in line with its plan to maintain a reserve of 400 billion to 500 billion baht.

The spokesman said the government was confident that its revenue for the entire fiscal year would meet the target of 2.4 trillion baht, adding that the country’s foreign exchange reserve is also strong at US$245 billion.

Thanakorn added that the government was able to keep the price of consumer goods stable and the inflation at a manageable rate.

Rising global energy prices pushed inflation up to 3 per cent in January and 5 per cent in February. However, if the rising price of fuel is not taken into account, then the rate of inflation comes in at 0.5 per cent in January and 1.8 per cent in February, he said.

The spokesman added that the government has set up 10 measures to help mitigate the burden on people affected by the rising prices of fuel and consumer goods, adding that the measures are adjusted according to the situation.

He added that the rate of unemployment dropped to 1.6 per cent in the fourth quarter last year when the government loosened Covid-19 restrictions in November. Its Rao Tiew Duay Kan (We Travel Together) co-payment tourism scheme also helped create jobs.

He went on to say that the export sector has been improving since 2021 after the factory quarantine policy was implemented, allowing factories to resume operations.

Thanakorn said the value of exports in 2021 rose by about 17-20 per cent and is expected to expand by another 5-10 per cent this year.

He added that Thailand can expect to enjoy economic growth this year thanks to agriculture and border trade as these two sectors have not been affected by Covid-19. He pointed out that Asean countries still require consumer goods made from agricultural products made in Thailand.

The spokesman said growth would also be fuelled by export and government spending, as well as the expansion of investment by the private sector, especially in the electric vehicle industry thanks to supportive measures offered by the government.

Published : March 27, 2022

By : THE NATION