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Suriya eyes Bt10-billion boost for SME sector

Apr 23. 2020
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By The Nation

Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreankit said this is the time for every country to focus on protecting their industrial sector, and Thailand should use this opportunity to turn its focus on the grassroots economy.

Hence, he said, his ministry is allocating approximately Bt10 billion to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that have been affected by both the Covid-19 contagion and drought. The budget, which will be taken from the rehabilitation budget, will be spent in four areas:

1. A marketing and management project run by the Department of Industrial Promotion.

2. Bt3.4 billion will be spent on debt moratoriums, boosting liquidity and relaxing interest rates and Bt2.4 billion will be earmarked on expanding and improving business.

3. Providing services and reducing the cost burden on SMEs such as waiving annual fees for factors and standard service fees.

4. Spending Bt367 million on finding new water resources and helping sugarcane farmers hit by drought, as well as spending Bt30 million on providing irrigation for more than 20,000 rai of farmland and creating 500 jobs etc.

Suphan Mongkolsuthee, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries’ board of directors, said the board has developed an online sales channel integrated with the Finance Ministry’s big-data platform to help the SME sector.

Meanwhile, the private sector wants the government to speed up the consideration of short-term business proposals to mitigate the effects of the crisis, such as granting a three-year income tax exemption for SMEs via an e-filing system, adjusting all withholding taxes to 1 per cent for the 2020 fiscal year, extending the coverage amount for loans from 40 per cent to 80 per cent among others.

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