Cabinet greenlights cash handouts for older taxi drivers

The Thai government on Tuesday approved relief packages for taxi drivers and motorcycle-taxi riders over 65 in 29 provinces impacted by Covid-19, who are not eligible for aid under the Social Security Act because of their age.

The assistance includes a monthly cash handout of 5,000 baht for 12,918 taxi drivers and 3,776 motorcycle taxi riders, under the cap of a 167-million-baht budget, said the government’s spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana.

Those who live in 13 provinces first designated as controlled areas will be entitled for two rounds of handouts, while the rest will only get one.

Thanakorn said registration will open in November, and the handouts will be rolled out via bank transfer by the end of the month.

“This will save the lives of transport workers,” he said. “The transport system is key in driving economic activities.”

Previously Thai employees who aged under 65 in the social security system from affected industries were able to receive relief packages ranging from 2,500 to 10,000 baht per person depending on category and location.

As the pandemic has reduced outdoor activities and shun away tourists, causing lower income from commuting, a group of taxi drivers has abandoned their vehicles in Ratchaphruek, Bangkok since February. They have also been transforming them into vegetable gardens and frog ponds to seek alternative income.

Industrial sentiment 

The industrial sentiment index in September rebounded for the first time after persistently dropping since April, the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) reported on Tuesday, backed by improved Covid-19 situation and relaxation on business restrictions.

The index, based on a survey of 1,411 businesses across sectors nationwide, rose to 79 points from 76.8 a month earlier. 

However, the federation warned that rising global fuel prices and food prices from floods could adversely affect the battered economy ahead of the reopening, while the existing logistical issues, such as shipping delays and a container shortage, still remain. 

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