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New Living Cost-Cutting Measures will be proposed

The Ministry of Finance is set to propose to the Cabinet a new set of measures to help control rising living costs as fuel prices continue to fluctuate.

Thailand’s diesel price cap at 30 baht per litre will last until the end of May. After that, a loan of 40 billion baht that supports the subsidy allowing the cap is expected to run out. Thailand’s deputy prime minister, who is also the energy minister, said the country must save energy while waiting for additional loans.

Krisada Chinavicharana, permanent secretary for the Ministry of Finance, said the new measures will be proposed to the Cabinet this week. They include tax and non-tax measures, with some not requiring additional funding.

He also said the government still can fund these aid campaigns through an unutilized portion of emergency loans and the central budget.

On the potential extension of the government’s co-pay campaign, the permanent secretary said it is too early to tell whether the campaign will get extended despite its success.

Mr Krisada said it was too early to determine whether the government will launch phase 5 of the “Khon La Khrueng” co-payment subsidy scheme once the current phase 4 expires in May.

The government cannot continue stimulus schemes forever as the economy will return to normal soon, he said.

The co-payment scheme sees the government subsidising 50% of food, drinks and general goods purchases for participants, with the total subsidy limited to 150 baht per person per day.

He added that the government will continue to run the state welfare campaign for the poor, though the opening for new registrations has to be postponed due to the COVID-19 situation. Any additional giveaways under the welfare campaign will need to be discussed at a later date.

Workers in a range of industries from boat tourism to land transport have been angered and scared by the impact of rising fuel prices on their livelihoods. On Thursday, the Federation of Thai Industries called on the government to stop the spike in fuel prices. In a survey, the FTI found that 75.2% of manufacturers were concerned about fuel costs.

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