Bangkok, Sep 11 (EFE).- Thailand’s newly elected prime minister, Srettha Thavisin, said Monday that the economy was the main priority for his government and announced immediate measures to ease economic issues affecting the country, such as resuming tourism and reducing energy prices.
“Under the present economic circumstances, Thailand is like a sick person. (…) Tourism and spending are recovering so slowly that there is the risk of economic recession,” Srettha told the parliament in a speech on his term’s priorities and policies.
“It is necessary to stimulate the economy and spending,” he added.
Thailand’s economy, heavily dependent on tourism, has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, resulting in the debt burden increasing for both the government and the people.
Srettha said that the country’s public debt had shot up to over 60 percent of the GDP this year, while household debt had climbed to more than 90 percent of the GDP.
Therefore the PM, who assumed office last week after a three-month-long political deadlock between the house of representatives and senate, pledged to act rapidly.
He announced a stimulus package to tackle a series of economic, political, social and environmental issues affecting the nation.
These include a digital money handout to citizens which can be used across Thailand and is aimed at creating jobs and increasing money circulation in the economy.
He also announced that the government would reduce prices of motor fuels, cooking gas and electricity, apart from seeking other energy alternatives.
Another key priority of Srettha’s policy is reviving tourism, a lucrative industry that generates billions of dollars in revenue every year.
In this regard, the government is considering easing visa norms for travelers from certain countries, offering free visas to Chinese citizens and speeding up the documentation for participants in international events.
Other plans include investing in airport infrastructure to increase the frequency of flights.
Srettha, leader of the influential Pheu Thai party, assumed office nearly four months after the election on May, as the military-installed senate kept blocking government formation. Pheu Thai was finally able to get him elected as PM with the support of pro-military parties. EFE