The Ministry of Industry prepares subsidized loans for SMEs

The Ministry of Industry is preparing to launch a new subsidized loan program this week to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) better cope with the latest wave of the Covid-19 epidemic.

The value of the aid program, which will be carried out through the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Bank of Thailand (PME D Bank), is being determined and the aid will be based on the degree of damage that the pandemic inflicts on businesses.

Last year, up to 40 billion baht in soft loans were allocated by SME D Bank for SMEs when nationwide foreclosure measures severely crippled the economy.

“The ministry is monitoring the ongoing pandemic and will prepare more economic measures to help SMEs,” Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit said.

Officials divided the companies into three groups to prioritize aid.

Those in the petroleum and jet oil industries have been severely affected, growth in 2021 is expected to decline by 10-15% compared to 2020, following the slowdown in the aviation and travel sectors.

Businesses such as steel, automobiles, auto parts, canned goods and fashion will experience less of an impact, with an estimated growth of 0.5 to 1 percent, he said.

Others are part of a group with good business prospects this year. This group includes home appliances, electronics, and medical glove and drug companies, which are expected to grow 5-10%.

The government previously predicted that 40 billion baht in loans would help 24,000 businesses, create 120,000 jobs and contribute 90 billion baht in economic value.

Suchada Thaensap, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Industry, said she was discussing with other state agencies preparations for further measures to help SMEs.

“Many SMEs cannot afford to run their businesses. The government fears the second wave will destroy them,” she said.

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