Dems Release Proposal For COVID-19 Relief – Including VAT From Foreign E-Service Providers

Prinn Panitchpakdi Democrat Party

The Democrat Party’s economic team have released a six-point proposal for the government which is preparing to roll out another COVID-19 relief scheme to cushion the hit to individuals and struggling businesses.

Led by Prinn Panitchpakdi, the economic team stressed the need for the government to quickly implement the relief package focusing on people in the six hard-hit provinces of Bangkok, Samut Sakhon, Rayong, Chon Buri, Chanthaburi and Trat.

Under the proposal floated on Wednesday, the Democrats call for a monthly cash handout of 5,000-6,000 baht to the worst-affected groups for at least three months. These groups include business operators and employees in the night entertainment industry – the first to face closure when the outbreak hit.

The government coalition partner’s economic team says other relief measures such as subsidies for power and water bills should be introduced to help ease burdens.

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) are also in need of financial assistance, and soft loans should be extended to the entrepreneurs, the team said.

The Finance Ministry and the Bank of Thailand are urged to hold talks with banks about debt moratorium programmes for six to 12 months to SMEs.

The government should accelerate public and private investment to boost the economy, according to the Democrat team.

It should also focus on job creation and upskilling and reskilling programmes for workers in areas such as e-commerce and digital marketing as the COVID-19 pandemic is threatening tens of thousands of jobs.

The government should extend the deadline for filing personal income tax returns to help ease the burden on many households and speed up the plan to collect value-added tax (VAT) from foreign e-service providers, the team added.

Darunwan Charnpipattanachai, party deputy spokeswoman, said the government should also improve communications to avoid confusion and controversies.

Strong and clear messages are necessary during a public health emergency, she added.