Somkid: Aid for keeping employees on payroll coming
The Finance Ministry will offer assistance to business operators that pledge to keep workers on the payroll as the economy is ravaged by the pandemic, according to Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak.
Aid measures are expected to be finalised before next Tuesday and be forwarded to the cabinet for approval, Mr Somkid said after a meeting with the Fiscal Policy Office, the Budget Bureau, the Bank of Thailand and the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC).
Some operators have struggled to keep their employees on payroll because revenue is not coming in during the outbreak and the government should provide these companies assistance, he said.
The meeting also agreed to establish a fund to help small entrepreneurs who are unable to access financial institution loans, Mr Somkid said. The fund could be less than 100 billion baht in size.
He requested each state agency propose spending projects to a screening committee to take out money from a 400-billion-baht budget set up for economic rehabilitation, with a focus on job creation upcountry.
The sufficiency economy philosophy will be emphasised in the 400-billion-baht budget, with the government suggesting parliament members take part in the project to ensure transparency, Mr Somkid said.
The 400-billion-baht budget is part of a royal decree enabling 1 trillion baht in public debt.
Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana said the ministry is considering aid measures, possibly loans, for virus-hit business operators that retain their employees.
Aviation and tourism operators are eligible to get imminent assistance measures, Mr Uttama said.
He said the 1-trillion-baht borrowing will be used as a funding source for small-business operators who cannot access financial institutions' lending services.
For the country's economic growth review, Mr Uttama said the Finance Ministry will meet with the NESDC, the state planning agency, on Monday to evaluate the figure.
The economy is certainly heading for a contraction, but the severity of the slowdown will depend on the magnitude of the pandemic on the global economy and the resulting toll on Thailand's trade and tourism sectors, he said.