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Survey: Relief measures reach handful

Survey: Relief measures reach handful

BANGKOK: A survey conducted by the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) has shown the government’s relief measures remain ineffective and insufficient to help people affected by the pandemic.

COVID-19Coronaviruseconomics
By Bangkok Post

Thursday 23 April 2020, 03:50PM


The NESDC says the measures are unlikely to be sufficient if the pandemic lasts more than three months. Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill / Bangkok Post

The NESDC says the measures are unlikely to be sufficient if the pandemic lasts more than three months. Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill / Bangkok Post

According to the survey, as many as 88% of respondents still cannot access any government relief measures.

The survey was conducted April 9-13 with 8,929 online respondents from 77 provinces covering five groups: workers, freelancers, employers, the unemployed and retirees.

NESDC Secretary-General Thosaporn Sirisamphand said 7,894 respondents could not access government assistance because the state found they did not meet the criteria for aid. Only 12% were qualified to receive the aid.

He said the government measures are unlikely to be sufficient if the pandemic lasts for more than three months.

Surveyed employees and freelance workers called on the government to design more appropriate measures that actually help people, including reducing their expenses such as electricity and water bills, as well as food and tuition fees.

The government is being asked to cut personal income tax rates, provide soft loans and defer debts.

Those laid off because of pandemic said the government should accelerate the implementation of a relief programme as soon as possible.

The survey found 89% of employers could not access the government’s assistance because they were deemed “not qualified”.

They said financial measures alone are not sufficient to retain their businesses, advising the government to come up with more measures to cut their expenses and more soft loans to rehabilitate their businesses after the pandemic.

CMI - Thailand

They also proposed the government speed up implementing measures as most them have yet to gain access to the state aid programmes, be it soft loans for small and medium enterprises or the debt restructuring programme.

Mr Thosaporn said the NESDC has already submitted the survey results to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

The government will later use the survey to improve policy and design better measures, he said.

Mr Thosaporn said earlier in February Thailand’s employment was projected to face numerous risks this year, with widespread drought, poor exports, the delay of the fiscal 2020 budget and the highly contagious coronavirus weighing on jobs.

The agricultural sector usually helps absorb unemployment, but this year the sector may not offer any assistance because of widespread droughts, he said.

The Thai Chamber of Commerce estimated Thailand risks unemployment surging to 10 million people if the pandemic lasts another 2-3 months. Up to 7 million workers have been laid off so far, with figures likely to reach 10 million over the next few months if the pandemic continues, said the chamber.

 

Read original story here.

 

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