The Thai Council of Economic Ministers on Friday has approved a 370-billion baht (11.979 billion U.S. dollar) stimulus package to achieve a three percent economic growth in the second half of this year.

Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana said at a press conference here after meeting several cabinet ministers that the 370 billion baht package will be broken down into two categories.

"The economic stimulus package will be divided into two sections," said Uttama, "The first section would be the 100 billion baht category earmarked for direct government spending. The second section would be the 270 billion baht category which will come in the form of loans from state-run banks."

The Finance Minister also said that in order to boost domestic spending, his ministry plans to introduce a new round of welfare benefits in August and September for state-welfare card holders.

He said 20 billion baht will be allocated for the welfare benefit scheme.

Uttama said the welfare scheme will include three giveaways.

"The first freebie is a 500 baht giveaway to all welfare card holders for two consecutive months," said Uttama, "The second freebie is a 500 baht giveaway to people above the age of 60 for two consecutive months; while the third freebie is a 300 baht giveaway to welfare card holders who are helping raise children aged between 0 and 6."

Uttama said the aim of the welfare scheme is to reduce the cost of living and stimulate the grassroots economy.

Meanwhile in the agricultural sector, low-interest loans will be offered to support farmers affected by the drought.

Uttama said the government is confident that these measures will provide a buffer for the economy and will help achieve a three percent growth in the second half of this year.

However, the 370 billion baht package will need to be proposed at the official Cabinet meeting next Tuesday before they can be implemented, he said.

Source: China ASEAN Business Council