Thailand to inject 12.7 bln USD to ease impact of COVID-19 epidemic hinh anh 1Thais are queuing to register at a travel promotion event in the capital city of Bangkok. (Photo: VNA)

Bangkok (VNA) – The Thai cabinet has approved a stimulus package worth 400 billion THB (over 12.7 billion USD) to soften the blow of the COVID-19 outbreak on the local economy.

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on March 10 the package was a first-phase measure that could be followed by second-phase action if the impact persists.

Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana expressed confidence that the stimulus package will provide conditions for the public and businesses to get over the impact of the virus.

According to the Thai Finance Ministry, the package will benefit 14.6 million low-income earners who account for 22 percent of the population, a total of 50,000 village funds nationwide, 7.2 million farming households (30 percent of all households nationwide) and 3 million small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) or 99 percent of all businesses.

The package is expected to create 14 million jobs or about 85 percent of the total nationwide.

On the same day, the Thai Cabinet agreed with a proposal by the Budget Bureau to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and the severe drought on the economy.

The proposal suggests all government agencies need to lower their budget spending by 10 percent and consider procuring durable goods from domestic manufacturers.

The Budget Bureau said that a 10 percent reduction in current expenditures would amount to 200 billion THB (6.35 billion USD) of the 2020 annual expenditure budget of 2.39 trillion THB (75.9 billion USD).

The Cabinet also announced a policy to reduce investment in durable goods with a credit limit of less than 1 million THB (31,770 USD) or buildings with a credit limit of less than 10 million THB (317,702 USD).

Meanwhile, Government agencies have been asked to reconsider official overseas travel plans for conferences, seminars, and workshops.

In the wake of the global spread of the novel coronavirus, economists have downgraded Thai economic growth projections. The Research Centre slashed its forecast for the country's GDP growth this year to 0.5 percent on the expectation that the outbreak will wipe 410 billion THB off tourism receipts./.