EEC Office says aid schemes need rejig

EEC Office says aid schemes need rejig

Measures yet to help targeted groups

The government may need to rejig its financial assistance policies involving low-income earners, farmers, employees, self-employed workers, micro-businesses, and small and medium-sized enterprises, as many of them still fail to obtain the government's financial packages and other assistance, says the chief of the Eastern Economic Corridor Office (EEC Office).

According to Kanit Sangsubhan, secretary-general of the EEC Office, previous and existing state measures are yet to be effective enough and have yet to be able to compensate low-income earners, farmers, employees, self-employed workers, community businesses and SMEs for losses of around 1.76 trillion baht in 2020 and 2021.

"Thailand's economic recovery is in an uneven K-shape. Currently, only large-scale businesses and the export sector are recovering, while the majority of people including low-income earners, farmers, SMEs and micro SMEs still struggle and are far from recovered," said Mr Kanit. "Some 60% of the population is believed to have used up their savings, with many relying on loan sharks."

Mr Kanit cited a survey in the EEC provinces of Rayong, Chachoengsao and Chon Buri that found low-income earners still suffer from the Covid-19 impact and poor economy, with many of them turning to loan sharks because they cannot gain access to the government's financial packages.

He said existing packages such as the co-payment scheme could help them only in the short term, proposing the government offer people assistance packages that can help them in the longer term such as career training schemes and technical and technology support to raise their earnings, and greater access to financial institutions' loans.

As part of efforts to help alleviate the hardship of low-income earners and SMEs, the EEC Office teamed up late last year with financial institutions comprising the Government Savings Bank (GSB), Export-Import Bank of Thailand, the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC), SMEs Bank, Krungthai Bank, Thai Credit Guarantee Corporation (TCG) as well as one insurance company -- Diphaya Insurance.

Those financial institutions will help offer loans, technical assistance such as technology upgrades and training programmes to low-income earners, farmers, community businesses, along with micro SMEs.

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