The government’s program to offer tax cuts to encourage Thais to go shopping could add a half-point to Thailand’s economy, but will do little to help Pattaya’s small- and medium-sized businesses, critics say.
The Finance Ministry’s Fiscal Policy Office estimates that the program, which offers consumers deductions for the 7 percent Value Added Tax to up to 30,000 in purchases from select retailers will infuse 192 billion baht into the economy, lifting gross domestic product 0.54 percent by year-end.
However, Kasikorn Research Center last week said the main beneficiaries of the so-called Return on Good Shopping campaign will be large corporations registered with the tax system. Most small- and medium-sized enterprises will see little benefit.
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That’s bad news for Pattaya, where most merchants are not part of the VAT system. While recent travel fairs and tourism-focused events have brought sporadic boosts of business to the city, Pattaya remains in a depression-level downturn.
The owner of the Khao Tom 5 Baht restaurant in Jomtien Beach named “Mukky” said business is down 80 percent, as most customers were foreign tourists. She has cut prices 10 percent but it has been little help.
As a restaurant, not retailer, Khao Tom 5 Baht would not benefit from the subsidized spending program.