BANGKOK -- Thailand's Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana on Friday unveiled an economic stimulus package totaling 316 billion baht ($10.2 billion) to support farmers, lower-income earners and ultimately the entire Thai economy.
The size of the stimulus package will amount to 1.9% of Thailand's gross domestic product.
Of the package, 109 billion baht will be funded from the government budget, and the rest will be loaned by government-run financial institutions, said Uttama at a press conference.
"The ministry presents urgent measures with the aim of stimulating domestic consumption and money circulation among the public as much as possible," said Uttama in a post on Facebook.
Southeast Asia's second-largest economy has been hit this year by numerous challenges, including the U.S.-China trade war, the strong baht and a serious drought. Thailand's GDP grew by 2.8% in the quarter ending March compared to the same period the previous year. The growth rate was the lowest in four years.
Thailand's economic planning agency, the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council, predicted 3.3-3.8% growth for the whole year. But the second quarter economic growth report due next Monday is expected to again show a slump, putting the forecast in danger.
The package includes subsidies, soft loans and product price guarantee for farmers. The government will allocate 210 billion baht of the entire package to these measures.
The government also aims to distribute 1,500 baht each to 10 million citizens to boost domestic tourism.
Thai government seeks to provide series of allowances such as for cost of living, commuting expenses, cooking gas subsidies and job training expense, for low-income earners, depending on how much they earn yearly. It will also implement measures to improve accessibility for small and midsize enterprises to funding for cash flow and machinery investment.
"It is estimated that these measures will inject at least additional 200 billion baht circulation of money in the economy in the latter half of the year," said the finance minister in his Facebook post.
On July 31, Uttama told the Nikkei Asian Review in an exclusive interview that his focus is on strengthening the foundations of Thailand's long-term growth. "We will do our best to achieve a growth rate that reflects the potential of the Thai economy," Uttama said at the time. "We still believe that we can do that."