SMEs to get B100bn of support

The government has set aside 100 billion baht to assist small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) struggling with the impact of the prolonged pandemic, says Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith.

He said the state committee tasked with scrutinising the use of the country’s borrowing for restoring the virus-hit economy approved a 100-billion-baht budget and plans to ask for cabinet approval soon. However, Mr Arkhom declined to elaborate on the details of the scheme.

The government issued its first emergency loan decree last year to authorise borrowing of 1 trillion baht to fund its stimulus schemes to combat the pandemic. A second decree was issued this year to allow the government to borrow an additional 500 billion baht.

Over the past two months the government has introduced new measures to provide financial relief to workers in the social security system. For example, it granted to workers registered under Sections 39 and 40 of the Social Security Act a cash handout of 5,000 baht per month for two months. The handout covers workers in 29 provinces declared dark-red zones under the government’s Covid-19 controls.

The Fiscal Policy Office predicts Thai economic growth of 1.3% this year because of the impact of the pandemic.

SCB Economic Intelligence Center, the research house of Siam Commercial Bank, predicted Thailand’s economy would not return to the tally set in 2019 until the middle of 2023, a downgrade from a previous projection of the start of 2023.

The Export-Import Bank of Thailand previously estimated that one-third of the country’s 3 million SMEs were on the verge of going out of business because of the pandemic.

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