Ministry-led B5bn venture capital fund moves ahead

Ministry-led B5bn venture capital fund moves ahead

The Industry Ministry and two other government bodies will discuss a proposal to form a 5-billion-baht venture capital fund to support industries struggling as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The fund is expected to finance entrepreneurs and increase liquidity for existing companies, said Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit.

The capital fund expects to support all industries and businesses of all sizes affected by the pandemic.

The National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) and the Finance Ministry will partner with the Industry Ministry on the fund.

"The Industry Ministry expects to talk with the NESDC and the Finance Ministry about the venture capital fund within the next week," Mr Suriya said.

The Industry Ministry is confident the two partners will approve a 400-billion-baht relief package, part of which will be used for the venture capital fund.

The NESDC has approved guidelines for the 400 billion baht slated for economic and social rehabilitation under the government's 1.9-trillion-baht relief package to soften the economic blow from the viral outbreak.

The agency will screen projects and later propose them to the cabinet for approval by July 7.

Mr Suriya said many industries have been hit by business closures and the lockdown and require government aid.

Industry Ministry officials met yesterday with the Board of Investment, the Thai Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) to discuss measures to support the business sector.

Mr Suriya said the ministry is not concerned that electronics companies will move production to neighbouring countries, as global brands like Panasonic, Mitsubishi Electric and Toshiba have told the ministry they will continue to increase investment in Thailand.

In the first quarter of this year, three electronics factories closed while 33 new factories opened in Thailand, creating a net gain of 25,000 jobs.

"Global brands want to use Thailand as a production base for investment in high technology and innovation, but some companies like Panasonic have moved simple electronics production to Vietnam," Mr Suriya said.

Kanit Muangkrachang, president of the Electrical, Electronics, Telecommunications and Allied Industry Club under the FTI, said the club is in favour of the ministry setting up a venture capital fund, as it will help local businesses cope with the crisis.

The club is calling on the government to launch measures to stimulate domestic demand to support all industries as part of the government's Taste-Shop-Spend scheme.

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