The government has set aside 100 billion baht to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) grappling with the impact of the protracted pandemic, said Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith.
He said the state committee responsible for reviewing the use of the country’s borrowing to restore the virus-stricken economy had approved a budget of 100 billion baht and planned to seek cabinet approval soon. However, Mr. Arkhom declined to elaborate on the details of the program.
The government last year issued its first emergency lending decree to authorize the borrowing of 1,000 billion baht to finance its stimulus plans to fight the pandemic. A second decree was issued this year to allow the government to borrow an additional 500 billion baht.
In the past two months, the government has introduced new measures to provide financial relief to workers in the social security system. For example, it granted workers registered under Articles 39 and 40 of the Social Security Law a cash distribution of 5,000 baht per month for two months. The document covers workers in 29 provinces declared to be dark red areas under Covid-19 government controls.
The Fiscal Policy Office forecasts Thai economic growth of 1.3% this year due to the impact of the pandemic.
SCB Economic Intelligence Center, the research house of Siam Commercial Bank, predicted that the Thai economy would not return to the tally set in 2019 until mid-2023, a downgrade from a previous projection in early 2023.
The Export-Import Bank of Thailand previously estimated that a third of the country’s 3 million SMEs were on the verge of closing their doors due to the pandemic.