Thailand to launch new economic stimulus package hinh anh 1Tourists at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Bangkok (VNA) - The Thai government is preparing to introduce a fresh economic stimulus package after the second largest economy in Southeast Asia recorded a five-year low in growth last year and faces a possible contraction in the first quarter of this year.

Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana, on a trade delegation to Japan, said the ministry is preparing a new round of economic stimulus covering tourism, consumption and investment to be proposed for the cabinet's approval by the middle of March for implementation in April, the Bangkok Post reported.

The tourism sector employs millions and has been ravaged by the outbreak of the acute respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), he said.

Tourism spending needs to continue, particularly through the Taste, Shop, Spend scheme, to entice people to travel more in Thailand, he said, adding the fourth phase of the Taste, Shop, Spend scheme needs to be potent enough to lure consumers to spend more while travelling. Similarly, investment stimulus measures need to be meaningful enough to draw investment.

State investment and 2020 budget disbursement need to be accelerated to help boost the country's fragile economy, he added.

According to official statistics released on February 17, Thailand’s GDP growth slipped to a five-year low in the fourth quarter, attributable largely to poor exports and slow government investments.

The economy grew 1.6 percent year on year in the fourth quarter, decelerating from the revised 2.6 percent growth in the third quarter of 2019. For the whole year, the economy grew 2.4 percent, the slowest rate since 2014.

Given the negative factors, including the COVID-19 outbreak, the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) cut forecasts for 2020 economic growth to 1.5-2.5 percent from 2.7-3.7 percent, and export growth to 1.4 percent from 2.3 percent predicted in last November./.