Govt approves B350 bn of support measures for businesses

Govt approves B350 bn of support measures for businesses

Deputy Finance Minister Santi Promphat (photo supplied)
Deputy Finance Minister Santi Promphat (photo supplied)

The cabinet on Tuesday approved financial measures worth 350 billion baht to help the business sector recover from the impact of coronavirus outbreaks, the country's deputy finance minister Santi Promphat said.

The measures include 250 billion baht of soft loans provided by the central bank and another 100 billion baht for asset warehousing to assist debtors that are still unable to repay loans, a central bank spokeswoman said. 

The support for debtors includes the transfer of collateral assets for debt settlement and giving debtors the right to rent their assets or buy back their assets later.

The programme will allow businesses such as hotel operators from having to liquidate distressed assets at firesale prices or go out of business because of their debts.

The steps to channel more credit to business come a day ahead of a central bank rate decision, with the Bank of Thailand expected to hold its benchmark rate at a record low of 0.5% for a seventh straight meeting. The central bank sees tourism, which accounted for about one-fifth of gross domestic product pre-pandemic, as key to returning the economy to growth after it shrank by 6.1% last year.

The economy is expected to return to pre-coronavirus pandemic levels in the third quarter of next year, with the recovery slow and uneven as tourism remains sluggish, the central bank governor said on Tuesday.

The tourism-reliant economy could take at least four to five years to see the number of foreign tourists return to normal levels, of about 40 million a year, Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput told a briefing.

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