Welfare card plan tipped ‘to generate B100bn’
Scheme to help poor will boost GDP growth
The Office of Agricultural Economics forecasts the government’s welfare cards for the poor scheme will generate more than 100 billion baht in value to the country’s economy.
This would be 2.5 times higher than the government’s investment cost, but in the long run, the government hopes to encourage poor people off welfare and into the workforce.
Vinaroj Supsongsuk, secretary-general of the Office of Agricultural Economics, said Thursday the government’s scheme could help the poor achieve household spending reductions, as many get into debt.
It would also help the country’s GDP growth, as the agricultural sector would enjoy the benefits of cost-saving when purchasing fertilizer and plant seeds.
According to the Ministry of Finance, 11.43 million people have registered as having an income of fewer than 30,000 baht per year, of whom 3.32 million are from the farming sector and 8.11 million from the non-farming sector.
Bhumisak Rasri, director of the Agricultural Economics Operation Centre (AEOC), said the centre found the government has spent 46 billion baht on the project in the 2018 fiscal year, of which 13.37 billion baht is for the poor from the farming sector, while 32.63 billion baht goes to the poor from the non-farming sector.
“We have found that at the end, the government project is able to increase economic value by 118.07 billion baht or 2.5 times higher than the invested cost, which the non-farming sector has played a key role in driving growth,” he said.
The AEOC estimated that 21.21 billion baht of the 118.07 billion baht is from farmers, spending the most on consumer products with 21.13 billion baht, followed by 70.73 million baht for travel and 10.50 million baht for fuel for food. Meanwhile, rice farmers do the most in creating a value economy with 8.54 billion baht, followed by poultry farmers with 2.75 billion, pork farmers with 2.27 billion baht, peanut farmers with 1.23 billion baht and livestock 1.18 billion baht.
While praising the scheme, Mr. Vinaroj said it is just the first step in developing human resources to strengthen the country’s economic growth, especially in the farming sector. The government should do more to allow access to the benefits as only 20% of the poor are from the farming sector.
Kampanat Pensupar, acting vice-president for Academic Services of Kasetsart University, said he was surprised when the figures showed that only 3.3 million farmers registered as poor, which means the poor in rural areas might not be able to gain access to the scheme, or the poor in farming sectors have moved into the non-farming sector.
He said further study is needed to clarify the point. Source: Bangkok