Budget endorsed to help SMEs out in fiscal 2021

Budget endorsed to help SMEs out in fiscal 2021

The government on Monday approved a combined 5.33 billion baht budget, up from 1.2 billion baht in fiscal 2021, to promote and strengthen small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in fiscal 2022.

Veerapong Malai, director-general of the Office of SMEs Promotion (Osmep), said the integrated budget channelled through various state agencies will focus primarily on SMEs, which have been harshly affected by the pandemic.

Such a budget -- approved by the SMEs Promotion Committee chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha -- will offer SMEs financial liquidity, and promote them to upgrade their technology and digitalise their management and production.

Mr Veerapong said with myriad aid measures for SMEs and the country's economic recovery, most SMEs are likely to recover next year.

SMEs contributed enormously to GDP as they accounted for 35% last year.

Thailand has roughly 3 million SMEs and startups, including community enterprises. Tourism SMEs make up half of the total SMEs nationwide.

The pandemic was blamed for SMEs' contribution to GDP falling to 32% in the second quarter.

Mr Veerapong said the SMEs' contribution is expected to recover to 35% in the third quarter.

The agency will continue monitoring the rates in the fourth quarter and the first quarter next year and has yet to make any forecasts for this year and the next.

Mr Veerapong said his office has also initiated the business development service (BDS) scheme in which the government will help contribute half of the expenses.

BDS is scheduled to get underway by March next year, with a part of the fund contributed by the existing SMEs Fund.

Mr Veerapong also urged SMEs to register with the Comptroller-General's Department to sell their products through the government agencies' procurement programme, which should help SMEs generate more income.

State agencies are now required to buy SMEs' products or services for at least 30% of their procurements each year. Yet only 1,000 SMEs have registered with the Comptroller-General's Department.

The office aims to urge 100,000 SMEs to register with the department in 2021.

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