Thai Cabinet approves additional US$1.4b in virus relief measures

[BANGKOK] Thailand's Cabinet approved an additional US$1.4 billion of support measures on Tuesday for education and Covid-19-related assistance as the Southeast Asian country tackles its biggest wave of coronavirus infections to date.

Of the total budget, 33 billion baht (S$1.36 billion) will be offered directly to students, including 2,000 baht in cash and a 5,000 baht tuition fee subsidy for some, government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said in a statement.

The remaining 13 billion baht will be for Covid-19 treatment and assistance between August and September for a target group of 3.5 million people, mostly at-risk groups, he said.

The Cabinet also agreed to increase new debt by 150 billion baht to about 1.8 trillion baht for the current fiscal year to September, in line with a borrowing plan to ease the outbreak's impact, Patricia Mongkhonvanit, head of the finance ministry's Public Debt Management Office, said in a separate statement.

With the increased debt plan, the country's public debt to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio is expected to be 58.88 per cent at the end of the fiscal year, which is still within the 60 per cent limit, she added.

The debt was at 55.42 per cent of GDP as of May.

REUTERS

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