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Merchants Warned Not to Abuse 1,000-baht Cash Handout Scheme

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The Finance Ministry has received complaints that some merchants are touting discounts or unrelated promotions to get recipients to spend the entire 1,000-baht cash handout in their shops.

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PHOTO: Banner at a Tesco Lotus hypermarket promotes the Taste-Shop-Spend scheme to lure shoppers

The Finance Ministry has called on store operators to refrain from offering cash giveaways or cash rebates to attract customers. The request comes after receiving complaints from customers about merchants over selling promotions.

The ministry is asking stores to avoid launching promotional campaigns that urge recipients to spend at their stores. Charnkitt Dejvitak, the vice-minister attached to the prime minister said the “Eat, Shop, Spend” campaign was for all merchant participants. Trying to force customers to spend the entire 1,000 baht cash handout in their store was unfair to other merchants and the customer participants.

The government wants the recipients to spend voluntarily and not be swayed by promotional campaigns, Mr Charnkitt said.

The Finance Ministry has received complaints that some merchants are touting discounts or unrelated promotions to get recipients to spend the entire 1,000-baht cash handout in their shops.

The ministry’s random survey found that the complaints were valid. Some operators also refused to give change to recipients who bought less than 1,000 baht worth of goods and services, Mr Charnkitt said.

“The Finance Ministry will randomly survey participating shops in provincial areas next week,” he said.

Mr Charnkitt warned that any shops engaged in misconduct. He said offering cash instead of goods to recipients or skimming funds, would be banned from joining the 1000 baht scheme.

Shops Already Barred from “Eat, Shop, Spend” Cash Handout Campaign

At least 10 shops have been barred from the 1,000 baht cash handout scheme, he said. For that reason recipients and shops who behave inappropriately will be kept from participating in future Government spending schemes.

The government’s scheme aims to circulate income in the rural economy and support the tourism sector, Mr Charnkitt said.

“The measures are part of the stimulus to boost the fourth quarter’s economic growth,” he said. “Some 5.65 billion baht has already been pumped into the economy. He said most of the spending comes from the 1,000-baht cash handout. The Finance Ministry is also planning to extend the cash rebate scheme to late this year. The ministry has pinned hope on the scheme’s second phase to inject more money into the system.”

According to the Bangkok Post the Finance Ministry will also bring the second phase before the cabinet this month.

The number of recipients in the second phase of the cash rebate scheme is also expected to be limited to 5 million.

The first phase, is also part of a 316-billion-baht stimulus package. Comprises a 1,000-baht cash handout and a 15% cash rebate for spending of up to 30,000 baht for 10 million recipients aged 18 and up.