Thailand on Tuesday approved financial measures worth a total of 350 billion baht (about 11.3 billion U.S. dollars) to support pandemic-affected businesses.

The cabinet approved a plan to provide 250 billion baht of soft loans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), according to Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith.

Image: Shutterstock

The soft loans will be supported by a credit guarantee scheme through the Thai Credit Guarantee Corporation and may receive additional exemptions or reductions on relevant taxes and fees, according to a joint statement released by the central bank and the Finance Ministry Tuesday.

The country also approved a program called “Asset Warehousing,” totaling about 100 billion baht, to support debtors who are unable to repay their loans, the statement said.

To help borrowers from businesses that require prolonged recovery period, the government will allow these debtors to repurchase their collateral assets or lease assets from financial institutions if their assets have been transferred.

The decision came a day before the Bank of Thailand’s monetary policy committee meeting, with analysts widely expecting the central bank to hold the benchmark policy rate at a record low of 0.5 percent for a seventh straight meeting amid efforts to support economic recovery.

According to the statement, the Thai economy is projected to recover to its pre-COVID-19 level in the third quarter of 2022.

The tourism-reliant economy contracted 6.1 percent last year in its sharpest decline since 1998. 

XINHUA | BANGKOK

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