Economic cabinet ready to okay aid for ailing firms

Economic cabinet ready to okay aid for ailing firms

The economic cabinet looks set to approve aid measures at its meeting tomorrow for tourism operators battered by the coronavirus outbreak.

Kobsak Pootrakool, deputy secretary-general to the prime minister for political affairs, said the measures include principal loan payment suspension for six months, an income tax payment suspension for six months and a 10-billion-baht soft loan programme.

Mr Kobsak said the government will settle the proposed measures today and propose them to the economic cabinet for consideration and approval tomorrow.

"The government may take 1-2 months to evaluate the real impact from the coronavirus outbreak, with the measures to stimulate tourism possibly implemented in March," he said.

In a related development, Siam Commercial Bank said it is offering a six-month grace period on principal repayment to hoteliers and tour operators affected by the deadly virus.

"If the situation is prolonged, the bank stands ready to consider additional relief measures for customers," it said in a statement.

Kasikornbank also rolled out relief measures, consisting of a grace period of up to 12 months for principal repayment and new loan extension, to aid tourism-related small and medium-sized enterprises affected by the virus spread.

Meanwhile, the Office of Insurance Commission (OIC) and insurers have agreed in principle to provide insurance products for coronavirus coverage. Insurance companies will develop travel insurance that provides medical and death coverage for foreign travellers to build up their confidence when they visit Thailand and support the country's tourism industry, said OIC secretary-general Suthiphon Taveechaiyagarn.

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