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Cabinet backs credit boost for SMEs in Bt15 bn package

Cabinet backs credit boost for SMEs in Bt15 bn package

TUESDAY, March 21, 2017

THE CABINET yesterday gave the nod to the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Bank of Thailand to extend up to Bt15 billion in loans to small and medium-sized enterprises.

 The cabinet also approved plans for a major industrial estate development project in Sa Kaeo.
“About 3,000 SMEs will be assisted to gain access to capital with loans of up to Bt15 million each being made available. Some Bt68.7 billion in capital will be put into circulation in the economic system,” said Nattaporn Jatusripitak, adviser to the Prime Minister’s Office. The credit assistance will help keep 24,000 workers in employment, she said.
About 3,000 SMEs targeted in this scheme must fit into three groups: those facing some form of financial pressure, start-ups seeking to pursue innovation and those about to become operators under the government’s Thailand 4.0 vision for technological development.
For businesses to qualify for support under the scheme, they must not have non-performing loans and must not use the funds for refinancing. “SMEs can develop their operations to be competitive,” Nattaporn said. 
The term loans under the programme, known as the SME Transformation Loans scheme, are set to run up to seven years. 
Loan applications must be made within 12 months of the date of the Cabinet’s approval or until the scheme is exhausted.
SME Bank has set the interest rate at 3 per cent for the first to third years and at the minimum lending rate for the fourth to seventh years. 
The government will give the bank Bt2.25 billion as an interest-rate subsidy. 
The bank will also join with Thai Credit Guarantee Corporation for loan guarantees with no charge for the first year, 1 per cent for the second and third year and 1.75 per cent for the fourth to seventh year.
The industrial estate development project is located on a 660 rai of land in the special economic zone in Sa Kaeo.Its investment budget is estimated at Bt1.66 billion, of which Bt960.26 million will come from the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand and Bt700 million from the government budget with a two-year obligation. The development period is expected to be 15 months.
The targeted industries comprise agricultural processing, transport and logistics, packaging and plastic products, vehicle parts and machinery, and electric appliances and electronics components. 
The estate authority expects to complete the allocation of land to the private sector for investment within five years.
“The prime minister viewed that the (planned) industrial estate in Sa Kaeo is close to the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC). “Therefore, projects could be linked between these two areas for the benefit of EEC development,” she said.