BANGKOK – Thailand’s finance ministry is prepared to offer 100 billion baht (US$3.15 billion) in soft loans as a lifeline to tourism operators impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak, pending the cabinet’s approval in March.
Once the assistance measures are approved, the ministry is also expected to propose a fourth phase to the Taste-Shop-Spend scheme, which aims to stimulate domestic consumption and travel,
The soft loans will be sponsored by the Government Savings Bank (GSB) and offered through commercial banks with an interest rate of 3-4%, a source familiar with the matter who requested to remain anonymous, Bangkok Post reported.
Operators who do not require fresh funds will be able to tap on other financial assistance, such as debt suspension and interest rate reduction, the source said. The Bank of Thailand will consider easing regulations for commercial banks in return for their aid to customers.
The finance ministry is expected to propose a new relief package to the cabinet for approval on March 3 to alleviate the negative impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
The package will also include measures such as training courses conducted by the Tourism and Sports Ministry, to avoid layoffs.
Commercial banks will also be asking the central bank to further ease the requirements for loan-loss provisions in exchange for aid measures to help customers, according to Thai Bankers' Association chairman Predee Daochai.
Once the assistance measures are approved, the ministry is also expected to propose a fourth phase to the Taste-Shop-Spend scheme, which aims to stimulate domestic consumption and travel, the source said.