Asia pacific financial news

Thai lawmakers approve $16B in borrowing to combat COVID-19

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand’s Home of Representatives on Thursday authorised a invoice that will permit the federal government to borrow as much as 500 billion baht ($16 billion) to take care of the financial fallout and medical prices of the coronavirus.

About 300 billion baht ($9.6 billion) can be used for direct help to people and companies, 170 billion baht ($5.5 billion) to create jobs and stimulate the financial system, and 30 billion baht ($962 million) for medical tools, analysis and medication.

A decree final 12 months allowed the federal government to borrow 1 trillion baht ($32 billion) for a similar functions. The federal government mentioned the funding cushioned the financial blow from the pandemic, decreasing the tourism-dependent financial system’s contraction to about 6% from projections that had been as excessive as 8%.

Nonetheless, the federal government has been accused of an absence of transparency and mismanagement in using these funds.

The Home handed the brand new invoice by a vote of 270-196, with three abstentions. The measure goes to the Senate on Monday, the place it’s anticipated to cross simply.

Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith advised Parliament on Wednesday that Thailand’s financial system is at the moment at its weakest because the 1997 Asian monetary disaster.

“Will probably be too late if we await the annual price range in 2022,” he mentioned. “The federal government wants cash urgently to resolve the COVID-19 scenario and to revive confidence.”

Thailand has been battling a pointy surge within the coronavirus since April. Well being authorities on Thursday introduced 2,310 new instances, bringing the full to 187,538 since January final 12 months, and 43 further associated deaths for a complete of 1,375. Greater than 80% of the full instances and 90% of the deaths have occurred since April.

The federal government has been broadly criticized for failing to safe ample provides of COVID-19 vaccines and for ready till this week to launch mass vaccinations.

By CHALIDA EKVITTAYAVECHNUKUL
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