Thailand to roll out more populist policies this year
Thailand to roll out more populist policies this year

Thailand to roll out more populist policies this year

BANGKOK: Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin says his government will roll out more policies by the year’s end to lower living costs, including gradually reducing electricity prices and raising the minimum daily wage.

To counter soft demand for Thai exports and low investor confidence, Srettha and his 11-party government have promised to revive South-East Asia’s second-largest economy with a series of populist measures.

These include suspending debts for farmers, raising minimum wages and providing handouts to all Thai adults via digital wallets.

“We’ve already reduced electricity prices and we want to reduce more, but it will take several weeks,” the premier said, adding that the country’s economic situation is “not so good”.

The economy is expected to grow 2.8% this year, but Srettha has a target of 5% annual growth.

“In addition to lowering the cost of living, we are increasing wages,” he said,.

At a forum hosted by Thai media outlet Thairath, Srettha, who took office last month, spoke on a range of topics, including the impact of the El Niño weather phenomenon on the rice-growing country’s second harvest of the year and the need to explore alternative crops.

He said his administration wants to open up new agriculture markets in Africa and the Middle East with a focus on halal products, and expand free trade agreements with partner countries, but did not provide details.

Srettha, a real estate mogul and political newcomer, has come under fire in parliament for policies the opposition said lack clear direction. But the PM has said the policies would be financially responsible.

Srettha said he will attend the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week, adding that his administration will maintain the country’s neutral stance on the world stage. — Reuters

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