Panel okays B1.7bn for 10,000 SMEs

Panel okays B1.7bn for 10,000 SMEs

Loans to help firms hit by drought, virus

A man sits in front of closed stalls at a mall. Soft loans have been approved for virus-hit SMEs. (Photo by Arnun Chonmahatrakool)
A man sits in front of closed stalls at a mall. Soft loans have been approved for virus-hit SMEs. (Photo by Arnun Chonmahatrakool)

The committee for SME development funds under the Pracha Rat scheme has approved loans for 10,000 businesses worth 1.7 billion baht for drought and Covid-19 relief.

The loan scheme offers up to 1 million baht per business with annual interest of 1% for five years on condition that the applicant has made scheduled debt payments on previous loans for the past 12 months and has no non-performing loans.

Kobchai Sungsitthisawad, the Industry Ministry's permanent secretary and chairman of the committee, said the loan scheme under Pracha Rat will accept applications until July 31.

"Entrepreneurs can submit application documents at the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Bank of Thailand (SME D Bank), the government agency that supports local businesses," Mr Kobchai said.

Since 2017, the government has approved soft loans under the Pracha Rat fund of 20 billion baht for SMEs following the Thailand 4.0 initiative.

The ministry suspended debt payments for 5,600 businesses in the agriculture and processing, retail, services and tourism sectors that applied for loans through the 20-billion-baht Pracha Rat fund in response to the financial crisis.

"The fund has so far approved rescue measures by suspending debt payments for 2,834 businesses with a value of 5.3 billion baht for SMEs to fight the spread of Covid-19 and the drought crisis," Mr Kobchai said.

Earlier this year, the Industry Ministry teamed up with state agencies and business operators to support SMEs by providing soft loans to 100,000 businesses through the Pracha Rat fund.

The cooperation project included the Industry Ministry, SME D Bank, Thai Credit Guarantee Corporation, the Federation of Thai Industries, the Thai Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Thai SMEs and the Thai Federation of Provincial Tourist Associations.

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