Economic cabinet told to meet every 2 weeks
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered the economic cabinet to meet every two weeks in order to seek measures to rehabilitate the economy during the next six to 12 months.
Kobsak Pootrakool, deputy secretary-general to the prime minister for political affairs, said on Thursday that Gen Prayut ordered more frequent meetings of economic ministers at Tuesday's cabinet meeting, citing the government's need to introduce more policies and measures to boost the economy.
"The government has already implemented several measures to alleviate the impact of Covid-19, such as the financial relief package for small and medium-sized enterprises and cash handouts to people affected by the pandemic," Mr Kobsak said. "But new measures are still needed to help speed up rehabilitating the economy over the next 6-12 months."
The next economic cabinet meeting is scheduled for July 10.
Previously, Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak assigned related agencies to prepare an additional 100 billion baht worth of packages in the event that the government needs to implement economic rehabilitation plans.
Mr Kobsak said the next economic cabinet meeting will monitor the progress of the existing aid scheme for small and medium enterprises, adding that many SMEs have complained that some SMEs have yet to access the soft loan scheme implemented by the Bank of Thailand.
The central bank began applications for the 500-billion-baht soft loan scheme for SMEs affected by the coronavirus crisis on April 27.
The soft loans aim to help ease SMEs' suffering and boost their liquidity, enabling them to pay for necessary expenses, particularly wages.
The 500-billion-baht soft loan scheme is part of the third phase of relief measures. Under the two-year loan scheme, the central bank will charge commercial banks 0.01% interest to re-lend to SMEs with a maximum credit line of 500 million baht at 2%.
The government will absorb interest costs for six months for SMEs that receive soft loans.
SMEs eligible for the measure must also operate domestically, be non-listed companies and still have been servicing debt or making late payments within 90 days of the end of 2019.
Aside from the soft loans, all SMEs with a credit line of up to 100 million baht will be automatically offered a six-month grace period on principal and interest to alleviate the impact on smaller SMEs, which are an important source of employment.