Industry Ministry to promote small business stimulus plan

Industry Ministry to promote small business stimulus plan

The Industry Ministry has approved promptly pushing forward the latest stimulus package from the government, allocating 10 billion baht through the Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Fund.

This fund supports financial tools for local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) under the management of the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion (Osmep).

The 10-billion-baht fund is part of the 316-billion-baht stimulus package approved by the cabinet on Tuesday.

Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit said SMEs and micro enterprises are the backbone of the Thai economy.

Thai SMEs depend on labour-intensive operations, giving them higher costs than large enterprises, he said.

"The ministry has ordered Osmep to carry out this stimulus programme immediately," said Mr Suriya.

Other measures for SMEs include a credit guarantee from Thai Credit Guarantee Corporation and credit lines from state banks worth a combined 100 billion baht.

"The ministry wants to emphasise the Thailand 4.0 initiative to be a tool for improvement for SMEs," he said.

Thai SMEs contribute roughly 80% of the country's GDP with 3 million companies.

Kobchai Sungsitthisawad, director-general of the Industrial Promotion Department, said the ministry plans to sign an agreement next Wednesday with Osaka prefecture in Japan for collaboration on trade development and agriculture manufacturing to promote SMEs of both countries.

The collaboration with Osaka will be the 23rd agreement between Thailand's Industry Ministry and Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

As of 2018, the ministries signed 22 agreements with Japanese prefectures, including Saitama (medical devices and electronics), Wakayama (agricultural products and lacquerware), Akita (auto parts and electronics), Shimane (food, machinery and electronics) and Kanagawa (eco-industrial town).

Moreover, the Japanese government plans to bring 300 companies to visit Thailand and meet Thai companies.

"They will visit the flagship Eastern Economic Corridor scheme soon with the intent to invest in the 12 targeted industries," Mr Kobchai said.

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