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[BANGKOK] Billions of dollars of government stimulus should push Thailand's economic growth above 3 per cent in 2016, the finance minister said on Wednesday, but a decade of political turmoil has left the economy in need of wide-ranging reforms.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha sacked his economic team in August, and has demanded their replacements move quickly to reinvigorate the poorly-performing emerging market economy.
Nearly a year and a half after Prayuth led a military coup to end months of protests that took Thailand to the brink of recession, growth remains pedestrian.
Expansion should top three per cent in 2016 as the full impact of fresh stimulus is felt and spending on big-ticket infrastructure projects gets underway, Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday.
The stimulus would also help GDP expand 3 per cent in 2015, despite a sharper-than-expected fall in exports, said Apisak, who was appointed in August as part of the new economic team.
Nearly US$4 billion aimed at boosting spending power in rural areas should add 0.4 percentage points to GDP growth, he said.