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Cabinet gives greenlight to BMTA loan again

Aug 14. 2020
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By The Nation

The Cabinet has accepted the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA)'s proposal to borrow Bt7.89 billion in a bid to boost its liquidity as it expects to lose Bt33 billion in operations next year.

Deputy government spokesperson Traisulee Traisoranakul said on Thursday (August 13) that the BMTA loan will be guaranteed by the Finance Ministry.

According to the BMTA, its revenue and expenditure for 2021 are expected to stand at Bt9.58 billion and Bt42.67 billion respectively, creating a Bt33.09 billion contraction in revenue.

“Hence, the BMTA needs to borrow Bt7.89 billion to use as circulating capital and boost liquidity on operating public transport service,” she said.

“Of the loan, Bt3.22 billion will cover fuel costs, Bt1.64 billion will cover repairs and Bt3.03 billion will be used to boost liquidity.”

She went on to say that since 2017, the Cabinet has approved loans worth nearly Bt70 billion for the BMTA as follows:

August 8, 2017: Bt2.83 billion to pay for fuel and to repair air-conditioned public transport vehicles during the 2018 fiscal year.

September 19, 2017: Bt26.78 billion for the restructuring of debt that matured in 2018 fiscal year.

February 6, 2018: Bt2.96 billion loan to repay debt that matured on March 1, 2018, and Bt2.01 billion to boost liquidity in 2018 fiscal year.

August 7, 2018: Bt15.37 billion for debt restructuring in 2019 fiscal year.

October 16, 2018: Bt9.22 billion to boost liquidity in 2019 fiscal year.

June 4, 2019: Bt11.32 billion to boost liquidity in 2020 fiscal year.

According to the Transport Ministry’s report released on November 30 last year, the BMTA had liabilities totalling Bt122.1 billion, mainly because the agency collects fare that is far lower than the actual cost, and cannot adjust it in line with the current situation.

Of its total liabilities, Bt57.67 billion is debt from government bonds with interest, Bt56.32 billion from long-term loans, Bt113 million from fuel cost, Bt252 million from repair cost, Bt1.56 billion from employee benefit obligation, Bt4.36 billion from employee pension fund and Bt1.82 billion from other liabilities.

Meanwhile, the Finance Ministry and Budget Bureau have advised the Transport Ministry and BMTA to come up with a rehabilitation plan, especially guidelines to boost revenue, reduce expenses and solutions to ease the debt problem as soon as possible and relieve the government’s burden.

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