Special Report: Urgent measures drawn up to stimulate Thai economy

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The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has drawn up a list of emergency measures such as fuel price price capping and loan guarantees for small firms to kick-start the economy which has been threatened by recession following months of political turmoil. 

The plans, outlined by Air Chief Marshal Prajin Juntong after a meeting with officials at economic ministries, would take in long-term measures such as the development of special economic zones on the borders with Myanmar, Laos and Malaysia.

The Air Chief Marshal, who has been tasked with overseeing economic matters for the NCPO, said 30 urgent proposals aimed at reviving the ailing economy would be discussed with coup leader General Prayuth Chan-ocha this week.

The measures included a form of price insurance for rice farmers, which would replace a costly buying scheme run by the previous government, which couldn’t find funding to to pay rice growers, said the Air Chief Marshall.

The NCPO will tackle the problems of loan sharks, which exacerbate the hardship of farmers, and has a plan to have the Government Housing Bank (GHB) offer low-cost home loans, he added.

According to him, he has told the Finance Ministry to look at a complete overhaul of the nation’s tax structure and report to him once it is finished. As for the country’s basic infrastructure, he said he had assigned agencies within the Ministry of Transport to push ahead with infrastructure construction in important projects. These projects included the expansion of Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports, and investment in various rail transport networks that included dual-track trains, intra-city electric trains, and high-speed trains.

The military toppled the remnants of former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s administration on May 22 after months of protests that had forced government ministries to close, hurt business confidence and caused the economy to shrink.