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Soft loans planned for struggling airlines, tax break on jet-fuel extended

Sep 22. 2020
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By The Nation

The Government Savings Bank (GSB) is planning to offer soft loans with annual interest of 2 per cent to airlines hit by the Covid-19 fallout. The loan term will be 60 months.

The package will be sent to the Cabinet for approval soon, said GSB chairman Patchara Anuntasilpa. The move would help revive Thailand’s tourism industry, seen as vital for economic recovery, he added.

The loans will be offered via the Export-Import Bank of Thailand.

Meanwhile the airline industry is getting more support after the Excise Department decided to extend the jet-fuel tax cut for low cost airlines. The tax cut of 20 satang per litre will be extended for another six months from the end of September. The department is also considering whether to waive the tax entirely, said Patchara, who is also director general of the Excise Department.

Airlines have reduced their number of flights by 20 per cent from pre-Covid levels. Previously, excise tax revenue from aviation fuel was about Bt1 billion per year. A tax exemption would not cost much in lost revenue, Patchara assured.

Excise tax collected in the first 11 months (October 2019 to August 2020) of fiscal 2020 totalled Bt503 billion, down 6.53 per cent on last year. The top five tax revenue earners were oil and oil products (Bt206 billion), cars (Bt77.7 billion), beer (Bt73.3 billion), liquor (Bt56.6 billion), and cigarettes (Bt58.1 billion).

The department estimates total tax collected for fiscal year 2020 will be Bt520 billion, higher than the revised target of Bt501 billion following the virus fallout, but lower than the original target of Bt585 billion.

For the next fiscal year, the department expects to collect a total of Bt534 billion.

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