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Coronavirus

Thailand Officials Debate the Government’s Stimulus Packages

BANGKOK — Thailand’s Parliament has reconvened after a break of almost three months to debate the government’s stimulus packages enacted to combat COVID-19′s ill effects on the economy.

More than 400 lawmakers wore face masks and sat one seat apart Wednesday as they launched a five-day session to debate three packages amounting to 1.9 trillion baht ($60 billion) implemented through executive decrees by the government of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha. One trillion baht ($31 billion) would be funded by borrowing for which the government is seeking approval, and the Bank of Thailand would provide the remainder.

Prayuth said at the session’s opening that the packages are necessary because Thailand’s economy shrunk 1.8% in the first quarter and is expected to shrink 5-6% for the whole fiscal year.

The stimulus packages include income subsidies for individuals and loans and financial aid to businesses affected by the pandemic.

The Opposition has criticized the government for providing inadequate details on how the money is spent, charging that the lack of transparency could lead to corruption.

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