Minister eyes quick aid for small firms

Minister eyes quick aid for small firms

Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises crucial to restoring overall economy

Mr Supattanapong, centre, chairs the Apec ministerial meeting on MSME issues in Phuket held on Friday.
Mr Supattanapong, centre, chairs the Apec ministerial meeting on MSME issues in Phuket held on Friday.

Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow has stressed the need to speed up help for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) that are still reeling from the impact of Covid-19, as the move can stimulate efforts to restore the pandemic-ravaged economy.

MSMEs are crucial for restoring the economy because 98% of businesses are MSMEs, which account for 40-60% of Apec's GDP, he said.

Mr Supattanapong, who is also energy minister, was speaking at the Apec ministerial meeting on MSME issues in Phuket, held as part of the Apec summit in November when 21 economic leaders are scheduled to meet in Bangkok.

During Friday's meeting, participants from both the public and private sectors raised hope regarding reviving MSMEs, which are struggling to deal with the economic slowdown caused by the years-long pandemic.

He said the meeting will focus on ways through which MSMEs could adapt to better meet the needs of the evolving global market.

The meeting, which was organised by the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion (Osmep), is scheduled to culminate today, offering outcomes each Apec member can apply to help MSMEs in their countries, said Mr Supattanapong.

Earlier this week, members of the Apec SME Working Group met on the resort island to share their views and suggest ways to help MSMEs cope with business problems, ranging from export hindrances and difficulties accessing financial resources to new challenges including the need to make businesses more environmentally friendly.

The talks, which started on Sept 5, ended with four proposals for discussion at the ministerial meeting, said Wimonkan Kosumas, deputy director-general of Osmep.

She said the first is the need to make new financial technology simpler for small businesses so they can use it to access funding.

Next is a proposal to reduce trade costs and promote state and private procurement projects to help MSMEs better access the overseas markets.

Third is to encourage MSMEs to adopt digital transformation as it is evident many businesses could use digital technology as a key tool to overcome the Covid-19 impact, said Ms Wimonkan.

The working group also suggested supporting businesses based on the bio-, circular and green economic development concept.

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