B250m New Year's present for SMEs squared away

B250m New Year's present for SMEs squared away

Uttama: No conflict of interest here
Uttama: No conflict of interest here

The Industry Ministry has finalised four New Year's financial packages worth 250 million baht for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which the mobile cabinet in Nong Khai province is expected to acknowledge and approve next Tuesday.

Industry Minister Uttama Savanayana said his position can still launch the stimulus package to support Thai SMEs without a conflict of interest, although he is a leader of the Palang Pracharath Party for the upcoming general election next year, and the party aims to support Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to remain premier after the election.

Mr Uttama told the media yesterday the four packages will appeal to SMEs, community enterprises and small and medium-size factories.

"The packages are set to run throughout 2019, and the ministry is expecting to boost local business sentiment from the fourth quarter," he said.

The four measures consist of: (1) reduction of processes and procedures for SMEs and startups, (2) reduction of business operating costs, (3) upgrading competency for community enterprises, and (4) supporting farmers' quality of life.

Mr Uttama said the ministry aims to support 1,200 SMEs in 2019.

The 250 million baht consists of financial tools, administered by the Industrial Promotion Department, with loans not over 2 million baht per SME, carrying an interest rate of 4% per month, down from the normal rate of 6%.

The ministry wants to improve on Thailand's industrial standards for SMEs, expecting 500 companies to join this programme with a coupon of 30,000 baht per enterprise through the SME Development Fund under the Pracha Rat scheme. It is scheduled to run from January to September.

In addition, the ministry will encourage SMEs to join the country's e-payment system PromptPay. Three departments -- Industrial Works, Primary Industries and Mines, and the Thai Industrial Standards Institute -- are expected to work on the e-payment system.

Somchai Harnhirun, deputy industry minister, said the ministry will open applications for the Thai Best products scheme for SMEs and community enterprises in 77 provinces on Dec 22.

He expects 100,000 enterprises to join this marketplace and e-commerce programme.

"The ministry has received applications for 240 SME products, 420 community enterprises and 3,300 shops. All applicants will be put in the Thai Best mobile app, so they can distribute their products online," said Mr Somchai.

Moreover, the ministry plans to open Industry Transformation Centres (ITC) in 77 provinces by 2018. It aims to support 30,000 SMEs through the ITC facilities.

The ministry also wants to propose to the cabinet two additional New Year's packages for SMEs and micro-SMEs under the Pracha Rat scheme on Dec 18.

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