Thai businesses to receive financial support
With Thailand’s economy expected to contract by 6.5% in 2020, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has moved to support the Thai government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic by providing a US$1.5 billion loan.
According to Masatsuga Akawa, president of ADB, the loan will help fund the Thai government’s relief packages, including supporting SMEs in industries such as tourism and manufacturing, which have been some of the most affected by the pandemic.
The loan is distributed under ADB’s COVID-19 Active Response and Expenditure Support (CARES) programme, which will aim to restore growth and set the stage for targeted private sector operations by ADB to support post COVID-19 recovery, including in priority areas such as infrastructure, trade and supply chain finance.
While the vast majority of businesses in Thailand have been allowed to resume operations since July 1, the country is still under a state of emergency until the end of August 2020 as Thai businesses attempt to kickstart their recovery from COVID-19.
To date, the Thai government has introduced stimulus packages totaling 2.25 trillion baht (US$72 billion) for fiscal years 2020 and 2021. Of this, 1.2 trillion (US$38 billion) has been earmarked for fiscal programmes that are providing cash assistance to 16 million informal workers and 10 million farmer households.
The programmes will also broadly support Thailand’s economic and social recovery, strengthen the healthcare system, and provide SMEs in tourism and other sectors with tax incentives, as well as soft loans and debt suspension from the central bank.