Public Debt Management Office gathers loans for co-payments

Public Debt Management Office gathers loans for co-payments

The Public Debt Management Office (PDMO) is preparing to seek more loans for the government's second phase co-payment scheme, expected to commence early next year.

PDMO has borrowed 338 billion baht under the 1-trillion-baht loan decree, accounting for 34% of the total meant to alleviate the impact of the pandemic, said Patricia Mongkhonvanit, director-general of PDMO.

The 338 billion baht has almost been exhausted and the remaining funds amount to less than 10 billion baht, said Mrs Patricia.

If the Finance Ministry implements a second phase of the co-payment scheme, which is expected to commence early next year, PDMO needs to take out more loans to fund the scheme, she said.

The borrowing would be executed in accordance to the financial needs of the state, said Mrs Patricia. The borrowing will be conducted on a gradual basis as opposed to a lump-sum loan.

PDMO will make further assessments on whether to seek additional borrowing under the 1-trillion-baht loan decree from foreign financial institutions, said Mrs Patricia.

PDMO and the Asian Development Bank yesterday signed a loan agreement under the "Covid-19 Active Response and Expenditure Support Programme" for US$1.5 billion at a Libor interest rate of 0.5%.

Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith recently said the value of the government subsidy for the second phase was being deliberated as it was related to the fiscal budget.

Details for the second phase are expected to be finalised in December, Mr Arkhom said.

The co-payment scheme allows registered individuals who make purchases at small shops to pay only half the price, with the government subsidising the other 50% of the receipt.

The government pays for 50% of food, drink and general goods purchases of up to 150 baht per person per day, capped at 3,000 baht per person for the duration of the scheme. The objective is to stimulate consumer spending in the final quarter. The scheme started on Oct 23 and ends on Dec 31.

Mr Arkhom said the Finance Ministry plans to accelerate investment worth 247 billion baht through public-private partnerships (PPP) next year to develop infrastructure projects. PPP projects were jump-started in 2016 and investment capital tallied 831 billion baht as of 2020, he said.

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