BANGKOK (Reuters): The Thai cabinet on Monday approved a plan to disburse 20 billion baht ($645 million) rapidly for initial post-flood rebuilding and to stimulate the economy, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said.
“This is part of an emergency plan of the government's flood relief program. It is part of 60 billion baht budget approved earlier,” Yingluck told reporters after a special meeting. The remainder of the budget would be approved in stages later because affected provinces and government agencies have to review the funds needed for post-flood recovery to avoid any duplication, Yingluck said.
Government spokeswowan Thitima Chaisang said the 20 billion baht would be spent by the end of Janaury 2012 to help stimulate the economy, improve the quality of life. Spending would also target some public infrastructure projects.
The worst flooding in 50 years began in late July but grew worse in October, shutting down seven big industrial estates.
Some factories are now back at work and others are being cleaned up as waters have subsided, but it may take months for many tech firms to resume output.
In November, the government set aside 120 billion baht ($3.87 billion) for the immediate flood recovery effort, a figure that rises to 130 billion baht when local government funds are added.
Last week, Yingluck told reporters the flood damage had been put at 1.3 trillion baht ($42.2 billion) and the government would need to invest in long-term flood defences to restore investors' confidence.