Small vendors in Phuket are experiencing a much-needed boost in small-item sales as a direct result of the government’s co-payment scheme, which was launched late last month.
The scheme, which has been officially referred to as the “Let’s Go Halves” program, allows registered locals to gain 50% discounts on their purchases of essential items. These discounts are made possible by the government’s removal of value-added tax imposed on certain items as well as its guarantee of the remaining 50% to the vendors.
Over 10 million registrants are participating in the ongoing campaign, which was kick-started on October 23.
The head of the Ministry of Commerce in Phuket, Premmanee Subchokchai, led a team of officers into the Rassada district where stalls manned by vendors registered into the system were set up.
Originally checking to make sure all vendors are abiding by the rules, Mr. Premmanee discovered the positive effect of the co-payment scheme upon interviewing the owners of the stalls.
This is corroborated by Tida Boonrat, Phuket Provincial Office’s Comptroller-General, who said that participating vendors in Phuket have given positive feedback on the effects of the co-payment scheme on their sales.
“Some vendors have told us that their sales had risen 50% because of the campaign,” she said.
The boost in sales also had a direct effect of increasing consumption spending amongst locals in Phuket. Because of the discounts, people are now able to buy more of their essential needs from participating outlets while incurring savings at the same time.
This means that consumers are now able to cope up with living expenses despite the loss of income caused by the pandemic.
“By using the project to buy essential items, residents have money left over to spend on other things or simply save it for later,” Ms. Tida revealed.
All of these, the Comptroller-General concluded, is having a good effect on Phuket’s economy, which has been dragged to a standstill due to the loss of foreign tourism.
Ms. Tida also told vendors who were not able to register on the first two chances provided by the government to wait for a bit. This is because the Ministry of Finance is currently organizing the means to be able to offer another chance for vendors to register again early next year.
This is when the Ministry will roll out the second phase of the co-payment scheme.
According to Ms Tida, the Ministry is considering the second phase due to the excellent response of both vendors and consumers alike to the co-payment scheme. Because of this, the Ministry is currently in discussions regarding the increase in the number of participants of the program.
“[T] he final figure has yet to be finalized,” she added.
“The government will announce this later,” Ms. Tida concluded.
Phuket, like all other provinces in Thailand, is awaiting developments on the reopening of foreign tourism. Government officials had revealed last week that a number of yacht operators from Singapore and Thailand have submitted applications to the Special Tourist Visa program.
These vessels plan to enter either Phuket or Pattaya, once approved.