Finance Ministry preps relief for 33 affected provinces

Finance Ministry preps relief for 33 affected provinces

Borrowers at state-owned financial institutions to get a break

State-owned GH Bank plans to participate in the relief scheme consisting of a debt holiday, suspension of principal repayment and an interest reduction for borrowers.
State-owned GH Bank plans to participate in the relief scheme consisting of a debt holiday, suspension of principal repayment and an interest reduction for borrowers.

The Finance Ministry is set to propose relief measures for cabinet approval next week to help borrowers at state-owned financial institutions in 33 provinces affected by stringent containment restrictions.

State-owned banks, such as GH Bank and the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Bank of Thailand, plan to participate in the project to aid borrowers in 28 provinces, such as Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Nakhon Pathom and Samut Prakan, designated as red zones, where strict containment measures are in place, said Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith.

The project also covers five other at-risk provinces, namely Samut Sakhon, Chon Buri, Rayong, Trat and Chanthaburi, where screening people leaving and entering them is enforced, said Mr Arkhom.

The project will consist of a debt holiday, suspension of principal repayment and interest reduction, he said.

The measures are expected to last until March, said Mr Arkhom.

To help the public during the Covid-19 outbreak, the Finance Ministry is mulling measures based on its assessment of the duration of the virus outbreak.

As there have been certain restrictions placed on economic activities, such relief measures could target specific areas, he said.

The National Economic and Social Development Council is scheduled to propose measures to the cabinet next week to reduce financial costs and provide relief for affected people in the most at-risk provinces.

For the second phase of the co-payment scheme, the Finance Ministry is finalising the number of eligible registrants who have not exercised their rights within 14 days and the results are expected after Jan 14, said Mr Arkhom.

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.

For the first phase of the scheme, there were around 500,000 registrants who failed to exercise their rights within 14 days, according to the Finance Ministry.

Since it is expected that total unused rights will number around 1 million for the two phases, the ministry plans to launch another registration process for the public, which could start in the middle of this month, he said.

Regarding how the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking, a private business group, has urged the government to extend the co-payment scheme by another three months and increase the subsidy to 5,000 baht for each registrant from 3,500 baht, further assessment will be made for the second-phase scheme, due to end on March 31, said Mr Arkhom.



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