Money changers latest with hands out for assistance

Money changers latest with hands out for assistance

The coronavirus impact and inbound flight bans deal a severe blow to the money-changing business. (Bangkok Post file photo)
The coronavirus impact and inbound flight bans deal a severe blow to the money-changing business. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The Thai Association of Foreign Exchange has asked the government for a series of assistance measures, including soft loans and income compensation for operators, as the coronavirus impact and inbound flight bans deal a severe blow to the money-changing business.

The association has submitted a letter to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, asking the government for a lifeline and noting that the money-changing business is by nature related to tourism.

"The money-changing business has no income due to no customers, but operators must shoulder expenses like wages and rent and take risks incurred from the foreign exchange market's volatility," the letter said. "As the government has not directly ordered the money-changing business to shut down, operators cannot get any aid."

The association, which has hundreds of members, proposed a set of relief measures: letting the Social Security Office give income compensation to operators, waiving special business tax, offering short-term loans with a special rate to operators and providing access to working capital loans to boost liquidity.

Policymakers should accelerate consideration of licence applications to enable those who are qualified to offer money transfers and e-money service, the letter said, adding that the government should speed up issuance of rules and regulations to provide an opportunity for money changers to get assistance.

The Thai Bankers' Association estimates that Thailand stands to lose 1.3 trillion baht, representing 7.7% of GDP, from the coronavirus crisis and that such damage could be on a par with the 1997 financial meltdown. Of the total, 1.1 trillion baht is tourism receipts.

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