Industry Ministry offers loans to SMEs hit by flooding

Industry Ministry offers loans to SMEs hit by flooding

The Industry Ministry has launched soft loans with a low interest rate as an urgent measure to help 423 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in 10 provinces suffering from floods caused by tropical depression Podul.

Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit said losses from flooding have reached 133 million baht.

Some 36 of the SMEs are small factories, with the remaining 387 community enterprises in Phitsanulok, Phichit, Amnat Charoen, Chaiyaphum, Mukdahan, Yasothon, Khon Kaen, Ubon Ratchathani, Roi Et and Nan.

They produce milled rice, drinking water, beverages, processed wood and wickerwork.

The ministry is teaming up with the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Bank of Thailand (SME D Bank) for loans of up to 500,000 baht for each SME, with two interest rates: one of 0.145% per year (urgent loan for business recovery) and 0.55% per year (smart SMEs).

"The ministry plans to ask cooperation from relevant state agencies on other support measures to help provincial SMEs resume operations after the flood, and they will receive both finance and non-finance programmes," Mr Suriya said.

The ministry also plans to offer a moratorium period on debts for four months to affected SMEs in order to reduce their financial cost.

"The ministry is closely monitoring the flood situation," Mr Suriya said. "The ministry has ordered many departments to help SMEs and local villagers suffering from the flood."

At present, the Royal Irrigation Department is draining water in flood-stricken provinces as they brace for more heavy rain brought by a new storm, Kajiki.

"SMEs can request further support measures from government agencies within a month," Mr Suriya said.

Thongchai Chawalitpichaet, director-general of the Industrial Works Department, said it will waive fees for factories affected by the flooding for one year.

The fee is between 900 and 60,000 baht, depending on the size of installed machinery.

The department will ask for cooperation from car makers and energy companies on programmes for repairing and checking cars in flooded provinces.

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