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TUESDAY, November 29, 2022
Finance ministry moves closer to finalising poverty aid measures

Finance ministry moves closer to finalising poverty aid measures

MONDAY, December 04, 2017

THE Ministry of Finance (MOF) has been gathering input from government agencies, employers and financial institutions as it seeks to finalise the second phase of relief measures for low-income earners.

The ministry aims to forward the proposal within two weeks to the Cabinet.
Somchai Sujjapongse, the MOF’s permanent secretary, said that the ministry has been in discussions with officials at the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Ministry of Industry and the Ministry of Commerce as well as the representatives of the Federation of Thai Industries and specialised financial institutions on the relief measures. 

If the finalised measures gain approval as scheduled in December, they will come as New Year gifts for the needy in Thailand, Somchai said.

The planned measures would adopt a Chinese model under which poverty is tackled by giving individuals access to financial education amid efforts to boost job creation, he said.
He conceded that it could take several years for the benefits to be felt. The measures will help the 11.4 million registered as low-income earners, including the 5 million or so who earn less than Bt30,000 per month, to escape from poverty. 
The exact budget for these planned relief measures has yet to be finalised, Somchai said, saying the existing budget may be used to finance these measures and there could be some additional funds made available. Normally, ministries set aside a portion of their budget to take care of the needy.

“We have been discussing with the related ministries ways to ensure existing measures are preserved as well as finding some improvements. In the second phase, employment is regarded as an urgent issue and it will take time for provide houses for the poor.”

In regard to a plan to use the budgets of local administrative organisations to stimulate the local economy, Somchai said that after a recent discussion it was determined that if the Ministry of the Interior informs the MOF of the need for a regulatory amendment to allow the budget disbursement, then such an amendment was expected to completed before the end of the year.

He also said he was encouraged by the response of consumers to the shopping tax incentives that ended on December 3.
As for a MOF idea to impose a tax on investment in fixed income funds, Somchai said that a draft bill covering personal income tax on investments in debt instruments through mutual funds was awaiting the results of a public consultation that ended on November 23. The feedback was collected on the Revenue Department's website.
Comments deemed appropriate from the public consultation, if any, would be used as the basis for legal adjustments, Somchai said. 
“The mutual fund industry agrees with the move for tax collection to ensure fairness in the tax system. If the tax is imposed, capital is not expected to flow out of fixed income funds and retail investors are not expected to find these funds less attractive,” he said.