Tackling household debt high on govt's 2022 agenda

Tackling household debt high on govt's 2022 agenda

Tackling household debt is one of the main missions for Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha this year. (Government House photo)
Tackling household debt is one of the main missions for Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha this year. (Government House photo)

The government has set its sights on hastening the economic recovery and marking 2022 as the year of tackling household debt, said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in his New Year message.

In a Facebook post, Gen Prayut said the country has been beset by problems stemming from Covid-19 and the economic malaise that resulted from pandemic lockdowns and restrictions.

He said he has ordered measures to be taken to deal with the crisis, which have aided people facing dire straits. "I'm pleased that the measures have shown signs of easing people's plight," he said.

Vaccine procurement and inoculation targets have been met with more than 100 million doses of vaccines administered so far, he said.

The reopening of the country has kickstarted the economy, setting in motion a much-needed recovery, he said. Confidence indices have surged across the farming, industrial and service sectors, while investments are also looking up. Relief packages have helped preserve the public's purchasing power and stimulated the economy, he added.

The Khon La Krueng ("Half and Half") co-payment subsidy programme in particular has been a resounding success and Phase 4 of the scheme will be introduced in March, he said. Public spending spurred by Phase 3, which ended on Friday, amounted to over 200 million baht, he added.

He said the government has enabled SMEs to access loans worth 240 billion baht, which is credited for the creation of 2.6 million jobs.

The rice guarantee scheme, worth 80 billion baht, has given a financial breather to 4.7 million farmers nationwide, he said.

The government is prioritising the kingdom's household debt problem, which has reached a crisis point, Gen Prayut said, adding the government hoped to resolve household debts through a variety of channels and mechanisms, including debt negotiations and restructurings.

According to a Reuters, Thailand's household debt to GDP ratio stood at 89.3% in the third quarter.

The amount was 14.35 trillion baht at the end of September, up from 14.28 trillion at the end of June, or equal to 89.3% of GDP, already among Asia's highest, it said.

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