Chamber of commerce urges financial aid for businesses to cope with partial lockdown

MONDAY, JULY 19, 2021

The Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC) has urged the government to roll out aid measures, as it estimates that the two weeks lockdown in 13 provinces will cost the economy up to THB120 billion.

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration on July 12 imposed a partial 14-day lockdown, including night curfew in Bangkok and nine other “Dark Red” provinces that have high infection rate. These provinces are: Nakhon Pathom, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat and Songkhla. Three more provinces were later added to the list, namely Ayutthaya, Chachoengsao and Chonburi.

“It has been almost one week since the lockdown started but the situation has yet to improve, with rising infections and deaths,” TCC chairman Sanan Angubolkul said on Sunday.

“The lockdown will have a weakening effect on the economy for at least one month. With an estimated damage per day of THB3-4 billion, the total cost to the economy could be as high as THB90-120 billion.”

Sanan added that the lockdown would affect the domestic manufacturing and supply chain in many industries, especially in the three newly added provinces where most of the industrial estates are located.

“The business sector needs more clarity on movement restrictions and the government's policy to encourage staff to work from home during the lockdown, as each business will need to formulate a detailed plan of how to keep the business running under these conditions.

“The government needs to roll out aid measures to help affected entrepreneurs keep their business afloat and ready to continue when the lockdown ends,” he added.

“The budget of THB500 billion that the government has borrowed to help people affected by the third wave needs to be distributed as soon as possible.

“Lastly, the government must provide adequate vaccination in the areas where infections are rising to contain the virus, as well as lower the number of severe patients and deaths. The TCC will do everything in our power to support this move to make sure that all Thais are vaccinated as soon as possible,” added Sanan.