BANGKOK, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- Thailand's Finance Ministry said on Tuesday that with numerous stimulus measures rolled out by the government, the Thai economy is likely to shrink less than the 8.5 percent projected earlier this year.
The ministry shared a similar forecast with the Bank of Thailand that the Thai economy may shrink 7.8 percent this year compared to a previous forecast for a record 8.5-percent contraction, said Lavaron Sangsnit, the director-general of the ministry's Fiscal Policy Office.
At the Cabinet meeting, the government had approved measures expected to inject 81 billion baht (2.56 million U.S. dollars) into the economy in the final quarter of this year, Lavaron said.
The government will from October offer cash handouts worth 21 billion baht for low income earners, and provide a total 30 billion baht of subsidies to 10 million consumers in small amounts over the course of about three months, he said.
"The stimulus will help boost consumption in the final quarter of this year and lift Thailand's gross domestic product (GDP) by 0.25 percent," Lavaron said.
He pointed out that the measures were part of the government's efforts to ease the financial burden hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"This year Thailand had suffered its biggest contraction in 22 years in the second quarter as the pandemic had battered tourism and the export sector," Lavaron said.
Meanwhile, the cabinet also approved an operating budget of 1.51 trillion baht and an investment budget of 291 billion baht for 44 state enterprises in the 2021 fiscal year starting from Oct. 1. (1 U.S. dollar = 31.65 baht)