Cabinet backs debt relief extension

Cabinet backs debt relief extension

State-owned firms to help until year-end

People follow social distancing while queuing at a Government Savings Bank branch in a shopping mall. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)
People follow social distancing while queuing at a Government Savings Bank branch in a shopping mall. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

The cabinet on Tuesday approved seven state-owned financial institutions extending debt relief measures for their customers for another six months to help ease the impact of Covid-19, says Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith.

He said the existing measures are set to expire in June or July.

These institutions have provided relief measures to 7.56 million individuals and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), totalling 3.46 trillion baht in loans since February 2020. The measures range from the suspension of principal and interest payments to the extension of the debt repayment period.

There are 3 million customers still in the debt relief process, representing outstanding loans of 1.2 trillion baht.

The cabinet also endorsed additional loan measures for SMEs, including increasing the Government Savings Bank's (GSB) soft loan tenor to a maximum of seven years from the original five years, and extending the grace period for the principal for these soft loans to two years from one year.

Mr Arkhom said these financial institutions have combined loans of more than 104 billion baht in the debt relief process for individuals and SMEs.

Vitai Ratanakorn, president and chief executive of GSB, said the bank has launched more than 20 relief measures so far, worth over 200 billion baht. One measure is loans for individual customers with a range of 10,000 to 50,000 baht per person.

Tanaratt Ngamvalairatt, president of the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives, said BAAC has provided relief measures to more than 3 million customers.

The bank plans to launch two new loans worth 90 billion baht on Wednesday to help customers with the economic impact of Covid-19. One provides up to 100,000 baht per person, totalling 30 billion baht. The other is a loan of 60 billion baht for farmers to use technology to add value to their products, charging an annual interest rate of 4%.

Nartnaree Rathapat, acting president of Small and Medium Enterprise Development Bank of Thailand, said the bank allocated 75 billion baht to improve SME liquidity.

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