The government has agreed to extended free electricity and water services to poor families for another year, until September 30th next year.
Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana said today (Thursday) that the Pracharat Fund Committee for the Grass-root Economy and Society has decided to extend the free services, which were due to expire at the end of this month.
Under the free utilities scheme, each household will have access to free electricity up to 230 baht per month and free tap water up to 100 baht per month.
Low-income earners who hold Pracharat welfare cards will be entitled to 7% VAT rebates for another year, as agreed by the Pracharat Fund Committee, said Mr. Uttama.
5% VAT of the rebates will be wired into the e-wallet accounts of the card holders on the 15th of every month and this amount can be withdrawn in cash. 1% will be kept in the National Savings Fund and the remaining 1% is charged as tax when the card holders spend.
Mr. Uttama said the free power and water, as well as the VAT rebates for card holders, will cost the government about 1.87 billion baht a year “which is not much, but is enough for the poor.”
The Pracharat Fund now holds 12 billion baht, but with an injection of another 40 billion baht under the new budget for 2020 fiscal year, the fund will be able to take care of the welfare of the poor on a continuous basis, said the finance minister.