The World Bank has encouraged the Thai government to continue its economic stimulus measures with a focus on businesses directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic such as those in the tourism sector.
Senior country economist of the World Bank for Thailand Kiatipong Ariyapruchya has noted that uncertainty remains for the Thai economy due to COVID-19, making it necessary for the government to continue fiscal measures to aid the public and business operators, pointing in particular to the labor market linked to the tourism sector, as visitor estimates for the nation this year are only 4-5 million people. He acknowledged that global vaccination could alter circumstances by boosting traveler confidence.
The economist lauded recent measures for the rehabilitation of businesses and to assist debtors as crucial in keeping the economy afloat and providing liquidity to operators, especially SMEs. While admitting Thailand has expended more budget to prop up the economy than most other countries, Kiatipong said the Kingdom has adequate reserves and its public debt remains under 60 percent of the GDP, reflecting effective management.
The World Bank report on East Asia and Pacific economies for April 2021, issued on the topic “Unequal Recovery”, indicates COVID-19 has created about 1 million newly impoverished people in Thailand and marked the first time in 20 years that poverty was not reduced in the Kingdom. A similar situation has been seen across Asia. The bank’s assessment is that the Thai economy will expand 3.4 percent this year and 4.7 percent next year. (NNT)