Rise in Living Allowances For Over 60’s – Money Could Come From Foreigner’s Visa Fees

Elderly Thailand

The House committee on state welfare along with a network of non-governmental organisations are pushing to pass a new law that will ensure all Thais aged 60 and older receive at least 3,000 baht in living allowances per month.

The draft law is a proposed amendment to the government’s welfare programme for elderly people, in which they are paid monthly living allowances ranging from 600 baht to 1,000 baht per month, varying according to their ages, said Nattacha Boonchaiinsawat, a Move Forward Party (MFP) MP for Bangkok in his capacity as a member of the House committee. He was speaking at a seminar organised by the House committee in Bangkok yesterday.

The committee is expected to meet one last time this week to review the draft once again before forwarding it to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

It hopes the premier will submit it to the House of Representatives for deliberation, Mr Boonchaiinsawat said. The draft law requires the prime minister’s approval because it is a financial law, Mr Boonchaiinsawat said.

MFP deputy leader Phicharn Chaowapatanawong said the proposed amount of 3,000 baht per month is considered the minimum income one needs to survive poverty. About 4 trillion baht is required to fund the provision at this rate, paid to about 12.4 million elderly Thais.

Cutting budgets allocated to ministries including the Defence Ministry that is getting 220 billion baht a year along with raising rates of land taxes and income taxes should help the government earn enough to fund the 3,000 baht monthly living allowance programme, the panel said.

Other sources of money could be special revenues including visa and related fees charged to foreigners, he said.

Nimit Tianudom, part of a civic network calling for better public welfare and a member of a sub-committee working on a national pension draft law, meanwhile, said potential sources of funding for the proposed 3,000 baht monthly allowance include revenues from excise taxes, the government lottery tax, the car tax and the petroleum tax.

Other possible sources of funding could include the 150 billion baht investment privileges which the Board of Investment is offering to foreign investors each year, which could be cancelled, and casino and gambling fees, which could be collected in the future if the government legalises those activities, he said.

The 3,000 baht allowance would be adjusted every three years to keep it in line with the so-called poverty line that is normally revised every three years by the National Economic and Social Development council, he said.

The House committee on state welfare had previously adjusted the draft law on the elderly and merged it with the draft law on pensions.

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