Village Funds to get B99bn
As much as 99 billion baht is set to be channelled to Village Funds this year, as the government wants to beef up the local economy.
The figures include 14 billion baht for projects and the 75 billion baht in debt suspension for members of the National Village and Community Fund.
The cabinet on Nov 26 approved 144 billion baht in stimulus measures, aiming to boost full-year economic growth to 2.8% and maintain momentum in the first quarter of 2020.
The measures include an allocation of 200,000 baht each to 71,742 Village Funds nationwide worth some 14 billion baht.
The cash aims to encourage infrastructure investment and create jobs in small communities, such as the construction of community rice mills, drying grounds for farm products, community rice barns, fertiliser-making factories, machinery to process farm products, public reservoirs and other activities that can generate income for communities, such as tourism.
Another measure involves a one-year moratorium on principal payment for members of the National Village and Community Fund. The move is expected to spur members into spending.
Kobsak Pootrakool, deputy secretary-general to the prime minister for political affairs, said the 14 billion baht in funding should be allocated to Village Funds for implementation of infrastructure projects this month.
There are 79,585 Village Funds with 13 million members nationwide. The office expects 1.5 million members to ask for the debt suspension programme.
Mr Kobsak said the two schemes should help low-income earners and create a multiplier effect.
Another Village Fund project is the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives' 50-billion-baht loan scheme with an annual interest of 0.01% for three years.