ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Aid coming for foreign firms
Relief measures to foreign investors affected by Thailand’s recent political unrest are expected to be finalised next week.
Deputy Commerce Minister Alongkorn Ponlaboot said a number of proposals for assistance were raised by foreign businesses, including salary compensation for their Thai employees covering the period of business closure, a cut in rental fees, and compensation for business interruption and asset damages. China Southern Airlines also is seeking compensation for about 300 million baht in lost revenue, as it was unable to fly 45,000 Chinese tourists to Thailand during the protest period.
The airline said compensation could be in the form of reduced parking fees at Suvarnabhumi airport, specially priced packages for Chinese tourists and reductions in hotel rates and visa fees, the Bangkok Post reports.
Mr Alongkorn said the proposals should be gathered and submitted to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva for consideration.
Korbsak Sabhavasu, secretary-general to the PM who chairs a panel set up to assist riot-hit businesses, previously said the panel would consult the Thai Bankers Association on the best ways to provide loans to foreign-owned businesses.
The cabinet has approved the SME Bank to offer 5 billion baht in loans with an interest rate of MLR-3 percent for two years to locally owned small and medium-sized firms. Each eligible firm can apply for a loan of up to 5 million baht with a grace period of two years and an eight-year maturity period.
By law the SME Bank is prevented from lending to foreign-owned firms.
But Mr. Alongkorn said the bank and the Finance Ministry were discussing the best ways to provide loan assistance to foreign businesses.
In a related development, the ministry will seek cabinet approval next week for a 3-billion-baht loan package to help employees of businesses that were affected by the political violence.
The loans, with interest of MLR-3 percent, would be extended to affected individuals want to set up their own businesses or invest in a franchise.