Finance Ministry to propose second phase of assistance for low-income earners

The Finance Ministry will next month propose a package of economic measures to help low-income earners in the second phase with emphasis on occupation training, Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong said on Monday (Nov 13).

In the first phase, the government issued welfare cards to about 11 million people who registered as low-income earners.

Mr Apisak said the government will try to push for a 4-5% economic growth in 2018 by giving more assistance to the low-income people in the second phase.

In December, the Finance Ministry will propose another package of measures for the government to consider. The measures will include occupation training for those who have registered as low-income earners to enable them to find jobs – a sustainable solution to the poverty problem.

After getting government approval, the occupation training will be provided for them in six months. If the low-income earners who are jobless refuse to turn up for the occupation training, the government may recall their welfare cards on the ground that they show no intention of being self-reliant.

The training will be for different occupations. For instance, the training for the farming sector will be under the responsibility of the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC). Those who have undergone the training in this sector will be assigned to grow crops as demanded by the market. The government may buy all of the produce through its mechanisms such as the Warehouse Organisation and the small and medium enterprises.

Mr Apisak said the Finance, Commerce and Labour ministries will also join hands to solve the problem of informal debts.

It was also reported that at a cabinet meeting Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha instructed the Finance Ministry to explore ways for the low income earners to take part in solving the debt problem such as by setting up a financial institution or fund for this purpose.