Thailand Business News

Cabinet ministers discuss third phase of economic measures

BANGKOK (NNT) – After acknowledging the severe impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on the Thai economy and citizens, a special meeting of cabinet ministers has put forth a third phase of assistance measures to be tabled for further discussion next week.

The Deputy Prime Minister, Dr. Somkid Jatusripitak, says a special cabinet meeting today considered a third phase of economic stimulus measures to be introduced over the next six months to support citizens and Thai businesses. Help has been divided between three groups: citizens, businesses that have yet to receive aid, and economic activities set to be launched over the coming three to four months.

The Finance Minister, Uttama Savanayana, indicated that for citizens, farmers, business operators and all workers, further easing of credit payments will be provided extending to non-bank lenders. The assistance is intended to target the country’s economic and social infrastructure while also tackling COVID-19 head on. Local economies are to be boosted as many people have returned to their hometowns.

The Governor of the Bank of Thailand (BOT), Dr. Veerathai Santiprabhob, said this week that measures so far have included debt suspension for small businesses, but the volatile nature of the situation has compelled the bank to look to larger initiatives. The central bank is planning to request a bill be passed empowering it to offer low interest soft loans directly to targets, thereby injecting funds into the economy. The BOT is looking to provide more loans than the Government Savings Bank (GSB), currently working with a 150-billion-baht budget.

The bank has joined forces with the Securities and Exchange Commission to figure out mechanisms to aid the bond market, which covers both the general public and private businesses. The bank is seeking a bill that would allow it to purchase mature bonds.

It is further planning to extend protection for deposits from one million baht to five million baht set to end this August by another year to next August, and to push out payments to the Financial Institutions Development Fund (FIDF) by dividing the 0.46 percent rate into a two-year rate of 0.23 percent a year so that banks may more easily meet the policy interest rate. These measures are to be proposed to the cabinet next week.

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid says both the Ministry of Finance and the BOT will handle the identification of funds for the third phase of economic measures, noting 10 percent can be taken from the state budget with the rest to be acquired in loans. He voiced his belief that the measures will shore up confidence across the board.

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